Doctor says Merck’s antiviral COVID pill is another weapon, but no game changer
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Pharmaceutical company Merck is asking the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 treatment.
If approved, it would add what the company said is an entirely new and easy way to fight COVID-19.
The antiviral capsule is called Molnupiravir.
And Merck said the treatment can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID by 50%.
New cases of COVID are on the decline, but the virus and its variants are still circulating.
Right now, the only therapeutic options to treat COVID are injected or infused.
Merck antiviral treatment works by stopping the virus from making copies of itself and must be used within 7 days of a COVID diagnosis.
The company said it’s convenient because it can be taken at home to keep people with COVID-19 out of the hospital.
Merck evaluated the data from a clinical study involving 775 people.
One doctor in Alabama said the antiviral capsule is another weapon in our fight against COVID-19, but it isn’t necessarily a game changer.
“Remember that vaccines prevent hospitalizations to the tune of 90%. If you get a monoclonal antibody infusion, it’s around 80% prevention of hospitalization, and now this is 50%. So, it’s not as good as the two other treatments that we have for it,” said Director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, Dr. Paul Goepfert.
Dr. Goepfert said because we don’t already have an oral medication, he believes the FDA will approve the drug for COVID-19 treatment.
But he stressed that people shouldn’t view the drug as something they should do instead of getting a vaccine saying getting the shot not only protects you, but also prevents you from spreading the virus to others.
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