U.S. to buy experimental Corona drug molnupiravir

Molnupiravir is currently in phase 3 clinical trials. It is a so-called polymerase inhibitor.

The US government has signed a multibillion-dollar preliminary deal with US drugmaker Merck & Co. (MSD) to buy an experimental Corona drug. If MSD’s pill for Covid 19 disease, molnupiravir, receives emergency or full U.S. regulatory approval, the U.S. would order 1.7 million treatment units of the drug, the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington announced Wednesday. Molnupiravir is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials.

According to MSD – not to be confused with Germany’s Merck KGaA – the U.S. will pay about $1.2 billion (just under one billion euros) for the 1.7 million treatment units of molnupiravir if the deal is finalized. In the current clinical trial phase, the drug is being used in 1850 people. Trial results are expected in autumn.

Molnupiravir: treatment lasts five days
Treatment with molnupiravir, which is being developed by MSD in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, lasts five days. The drug is a so-called polymerase inhibitor. Such drugs block a specific enzyme that viruses need to replicate their DNA.

Preliminary results from the 2a trial phase with molnupiravir had shown that the viral load in Corona patients had reduced significantly by the fifth day of treatment. In the control group, this had been the case in only about a quarter of subjects.

Molnupiravir has also been tested in clinical trials against viral diseases such as influenza and Ebola, but is not approved for these diseases.

— sources: orf.at/faz.net/picture: pixabay.com

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