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Australia to buy Merck’s COVID-19 pill, Victoria cases hit record By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters May 17, 2021. Merck & Co I

By Renju Jose

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will buy 300,000 courses of Merck & Co’s experimental antiviral pill, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as Victoria logged the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections of any state in the country since the pandemic began.

Experts say Molnupiravir could be the first orally antiviral medication to combat severe COVID-19.

Scott Morrison said that the treatments meant they could live with it. This Tuesday’s statement was made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Nine News. Australia hopes to reopen its borders for permanent residents and citizens who have been fully vaccinated next month.

For a 10-day course Morrison advised that adult patients should take Molnupiravir capsules two times daily.

Morrison stated that the drug will be made available in Australia as soon as possible if it is approved by Australia’s drug regulator. Merck plans to make 10 million doses of the drug by 2021.

South Korea and Thailand have indicated they are open to buying the possible treatment. Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Malaysia also confirmed that the possibility exists. The Philippines, however, is currently running a pilot program for the drug.

Australia has been increasing its vaccination rates. Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra are the largest Australian cities. Canberra is also being held hostage for weeks to the highly contagious Delta variant. On Tuesday morning, the nation’s first-dose rate for adults was at 80%.

Victoria had 1,763 reported new infections. That’s more than the 1 488 daily highest. Victoria is planning to open its doors once the adult population has reached 70%. It expects that this will happen by October.

Dominic Perrottet has been elected premier of New South Wales. On Tuesday, Perrottet said that state officials were on track to lift lockdown on October 11. That’s the first Monday after the government expects 70 percent of its residents over 16 years to have their vaccines up to date.

The state’s daily infections fell to 608 cases on Tuesday, the lowest number in seven weeks. This was the most recent case in Sydney state, after 623 had been reported on Monday. There were seven new deaths.

Australia has a relatively low number of coronavirus cases, at around 115,000. With 1,357 deaths, the total was lower than last year because of higher vaccination rates for the most vulnerable.

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