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Merck’s Covid Pill Changes Drugmaker’s Fate After Failed Shots

  • Merck halted work on vaccine, two other Covid-19 treaments
  • Pill was originally studied to fight flu, ebola viruses
Bloomberg business news
Merck & Co.’s Covid-19 antiviral pill molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% in an interim analysis of a late-stage trial, findings that could give doctors another potent virus-fighting tool. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Professor and Virologist Andrew Pekosz is on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”  The Bloomberg School of Public Health is supported by Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. (Source: Bloomberg)
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Merck & Co. hasn’t been a major name in Covid. It failed twice in its quest to devise a vaccine and scrapped a drug it acquired through a $425 million deal months prior. Its Covid pill, which also disappointed in hospitalized patients in April, may end up being the key to turning this story around.

Merck’s drug molnupiravir, which it’s developing with privately held Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% in a late-stage clinical trial. If it succeeds, molnupiravir would be the first antiviral pill developed specifically to target Covid-19 to hit the market. The other leading drugs available must be administered in a hospital or infusion center, putting them largely out of reach of all but the sickest patients.