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A Covid pill from Merck showed more promise in reducing the risk of hospitalization in a recent study.

Antiviral pill molnupiravir reduces risk of Covid-19 hospitalization in a new study by Indian researchers have come up with stronger results than previous studies on the drug’s effectiveness.

The study, led by a researcher at the Chennai Antiviral Research and Treatment Clinical Research Site, divided 1,218 Indian adults with coronavirus and mild symptoms into groups of size. equivalent.

Only 1.5% of the group that received the drug were hospitalized, compared with 4.3% of the group that did not take the drug.

A study last year by Merck, which developed the drug with the help of Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, found the drug reduced the risk of hospitalization by 30%.

Eliav Barr, senior vice president of Merck Research Laboratories, said in an interview on Saturday that the previous study had several differences that made comparisons difficult.

Participants in the Merck study were at increased risk of developing complications following a Covid-19 diagnosis, Dr. Barr said. The study was also conducted globally and included patients with mild and moderate infections. The Indian study did not target high-risk patients.

However, “there are a lot of similarities in the studies,” he said. “Both studies showed a reduction in hospitalization rates. Both studies showed a decrease in viral load, which is the amount of virus you can detect in your nose, from before to after treatment. And both studies showed significant improvement in symptom resolution. ”

Antiviral drugs like Pfizer’s molnupiravir and Paxlovid have the potential to reach more people than the antibody treatments that are being used widely in the United States for high-risk Covid-19 patients. Since the beginning of the pandemic, scientists have been hoping for convenient treatments that can be prescribed by any doctor and purchased at a local pharmacy.

The Food and Drug Administration in December approved molnupiravir for emergency use by certain high-risk adults. The drug is available by prescription only and should be started within five days of symptoms, the FDA said, adding that it is not a substitute for vaccination.

The Merck pill works by introducing errors into the virus’s genes to prevent it from replicating, which has raised concerns about the risk it could harm reproduction. The risk is hypothetical, and Merck says it hasn’t been shown in his studies.

The FDA says that women who are pregnant should generally not take the drug, but there can be exceptions. The agency says that women who could become pregnant should use birth control while taking the pill and for at least four days afterward. The agency said male partners of women who could become pregnant should use birth control while taking the pill and for at least three months afterward.

Some scientists have also raised concerns that the pills could theoretically cause the virus to mutate in a way that doesn’t stop it from replicating but instead leads to the emergence of a new variant.

Demand for Merck oral tablets has been weak in the United States because of underreported effectiveness and safety concerns.

Until an antiviral drug is available, patients who want to be treated with Covid-19 will need to come to the facility to receive an infusion or injection, Dr. Barr said.

“That’s a pretty big barrier to getting treatment,” he said. “And that is a barrier that is likely to be disproportionately high in patients with the least access to health care.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/world/a-covid-pill-from-merck-showed-more-promise-in-reducing-the-risk-of-hospitalization-in-a-recent-study.html A Covid pill from Merck showed more promise in reducing the risk of hospitalization in a recent study.

Fry Electronics Team

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