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Merck Setback Limits Study of Covid Pill to Milder Disease

  • Company halts work on two drugs for hospitalized patients
  • Study results are another hurdle in Merck’s pandemic fight
Bloomberg business news
Merck Looks to Antiviral Pill as Next Covid Breakthrough
Updated on

Merck & Co. halted development of two experimental drugs for patients hospitalized with Covid-19 and began a final trial of one of them, its highly anticipated antiviral pill, for people with milder disease after getting mixed results about the medicine’s benefits.

The pill known as molnupiravir reduced virus levels in patients during a mid-stage study but didn’t show a meaningful benefit in preventing hospitalizations and deaths, the Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company said in a statement. It decided to discontinue its development for the sickest patients, those hospitalized with the infection, after the trial showed it was unlikely to help them.