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Merck’s new pill raises hope of preventing Covid-19 deaths

Updated on: 03 October,2021 08:00 AM IST  |  Washington
Agencies |

If approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the drug could be distributed soon

Merck’s new pill raises hope of preventing Covid-19 deaths

People are seen walking through midtown Manhattan. Pic/AFP

In a potential leap forward in the global fight against the pandemic, drugmaker Merck said on Friday that its experimental pill for people sick with Covid-19 reduced hospitalisations and deaths by half.

If cleared by regulators, it would be the first pill shown to treat Covid-19, adding a whole new, easy-to-use weapon to an arsenal that already includes the vaccine. A decision from the US Food and Drug Administration could come within weeks after that, and the drug, if it gets the okay, could be distributed soon afterward. All other Covid-19 treatments now authorised in the US require an IV or injection.

Capsules of the experimental antiviral drug Molnupiravir. Pic/AFP
Capsules of the experimental antiviral drug Molnupiravir. Pic/AFP

“This would allow us to treat many more people much more quickly and, we trust, much less expensively,” said Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University.Merck said early results showed patients who received the drug, molnupiravir, within five days of Covid-19 symptoms had about half the rate of hospitalisation and death as those who received a dummy pill.

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Calif becomes first US state with vaccine mandate for schools

California became the first state in the United States to announce plans to require student vaccination for Covid-19 by adding the vaccine to the list of vaccinations required for school, such as the vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella. According to an order approved by Governor Gavin Newsom, students in the Golden State would be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning after those vaccines against Covid-19 get full approval from FDA for students.





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