New Covid-19 Drug Might Cut Chance of Hospitalizations and Deaths by Half

If authorized, the drug could be the first specialized oral drug that can prevent the worst of covid-19.


A pill that can effectively prevent the worst outcomes of covid-19 may finally be on the way. Just recently, pharmaceutical companies Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics (FL) announced the preliminary results of a large trial testing out their experimental antiviral drug, called molnupiravir. The drug reportedly reduced the odds of later hospitalization or death by about 50% in high-risk individuals with mild to moderate illness—results so dramatically positive that the trial was stopped early. The companies now plan to seek an emergency use authorization for the drug, though the findings have yet to be vetted by outside scientists.


Molnupiravir is said to work by interfering with a virus’s ability to replicate inside a host’s cells, hopefully limiting viral load and enabling the immune system to clear the infection faster, without progressing to more severe illness. The drug had been in development prior to the pandemic as a potential treatment for the flu and other viral diseases. The Phase 3 randomized, double-blinded, and controlled trial of molnupiravir, called MOVe-OUT, was intended to involve around 1,500 unvaccinated patients who initially had mild to moderate covid-19 symptoms but were at higher risk of severe illness due to their preexisting health. As is commonplace, though, researchers conducted an interim analysis of the trial when only 775 patients had been treated. About 14% of those on placebo went on to become hospitalized or die within 30 days, compared to around 7% of those who took molnupiravir, No deaths at all were reported in the treatment group, compared to eight who died in the placebo group.


Read the full article at: