Merck's Covid Pill Cleared by FDA for High-Risk Adults

Dr Dean Li, an executive at Merck, said Thursday that preliminary laboratory studies suggested the drug was as effective against Omicron ...

Dr Dean Li, an executive at Merck, said Thursday that preliminary laboratory studies suggested the drug was as effective against Omicron as it was against earlier versions of the virus. The company and independent researchers have been experimenting with the drug’s ability to prevent the Omicron variant from replicating.

Merck and Pfizer pills can be taken at home and are expected to affect many more people worldwide than monoclonal antibody treatments, which are usually given by intravenous infusion by a healthcare provider.

Until this week, antibody-based drugs were the only treatment option allowed for Covid patients who are at high risk of becoming seriously ill. But Omicron has ravages on the country’s supply of antibodies.

Thursday, the federal government on break distribution of treatments from Regeneron and Eli Lilly, saying they were unlikely to work against Omicron. These treatments represented almost all of the country’s supply. The only antibody treatment that remains potent against the new variant, GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology, is in very limited supply for the moment.

Against this background, the value of the pill from Merck has increased, according to experts.

“Anything that keeps people from going to hospital, even incrementally, has a role,” said Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research at Boston University.

In early November, the Delta variant began fueling an increase in coronavirus cases, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. Omicron, which quickly became the dominant form of new cases in the United States, is now behind the outbreak.

Merck treatment should be taken as 40 tablets over five days. The company is ready to ship the first 378,000 courses to the United States within days. Merck is expected to fill the federal government’s full order of enough pills for 3.1 million people, at a cost of about $ 700 per person, by the end of January.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Merck's Covid Pill Cleared by FDA for High-Risk Adults
Merck's Covid Pill Cleared by FDA for High-Risk Adults
Newsrust - US Top News
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