As people clamour for COVID-19 cure, scientists and researchers have dedicated their time and effort to the creation of injectable vaccines that are now being rolled out across the globe. But not all are big fans of COVID-19 jabs. Moreover, there are countries like the Philippines where vaccine supplies are scarce.
Recently, New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company Merck & Co (MRK.N) and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics developed an experimental antiviral pill called Molnupiravir.
According to experts, taking four pills twice a day for five succeeding days can potentially decrease the number of hospitalisation or death after contracting the virus. They also suggested that the oral drug could be a "potential breakthrough" that can finally put an end to the pandemic.
What is Merck's COVID-19 Pill?
The drug, Molnupiravir, is the world's first oral antiviral found to be effective against COVID-19, like most vaccines, the pill works by inhibiting the replication of the coronavirus inside our bodies.
An interim analysis of a phase three study has found that only 7.3 per cent of patients treated with Molnupiravir were hospitalised within 29 days; meanwhile, no deaths were reported in patients who were given the pill within the 29-day period. For patients who only received placebo pills, 14.1 per cent were sent to the hospital or succumbed to the disease by day 29.
“The news of the efficacy of this particular antiviral is obviously very good news,” White House chief medical advisor Dr Anthony Fauci said in a US press conference. “The company, when they briefed us last night, had mentioned that they will be submitting their data to the FDA imminently. The FDA will look at the data and in their usual, very efficient and effective way, will examine the data as quickly as they possibly can, and then it will be taken from there."