The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Merck’s antiviral pill against Covid-19 on Thursday, December 23. The announcement is made a day after the agency gave the green light to a similar treatment from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and while the country prepares for a new wave of infections, as is already happening in several European countries.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of the pill against Covid-19 from the pharmaceutical company Merck and developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
After several studies, it was shown that the drug, known under the name Molnupiravir, reduces hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus by almost 30%. The clinical trial was conducted during the early stages of infection in people with high-risk diseases.
The drug was authorized for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 in adults who suffer from serious diseases or risk of dying due to their age, including asthma and obesity, as well as for whom alternative treatments are not accessible or clinically appropriate.
The FDA clarified in a statement that the pill can only be administered to those who cannot access other treatments endorsed by the US authorities or who are clinically considered to be better off taking the treatment, known in the rest of the world as MSD.
Likewise, the agency communicated that the new drug will be sold only with a prescription and those infected should take it as soon as they know they have the disease, at most within the first five days in which they have presented symptoms.
Molnupiravir comes as a 200-milligram capsule (4) and should be taken every 12 hours for up to five days.
The drug is not authorized for people under 18 years of age because, according to the FDA, it can affect the growth of bones and cartilage.
Differences between the Merck pill and the Pfizer pill
On Wednesday, December 22, the US regulator authorized a pill against Covid-19 developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, under the name Paxlovid.
Although the function of this medicine is the same as that of Merck, both have several differences. For example, the Pfizer pill may be given to children over 12 years of age, while the MSD is not recommended for people under 18 years of age.
In addition, the Merck pill reduces the risk of death and hospitalization by 30%, while the Pfizer drug is 89% effective.
FDA clearance of both drugs offers another potential option against the coronavirus that has killed more than 800,000 Americans. Even health workers prepare for record cases, hospitalizations and deaths caused by the highly contagious omicron variant.
With AP, Reuters and EFE