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WHO says antiviral is good news as it awaits data


RT: Maria Van Kerkhove, Head a.i. The World Health Organization (WHO)’s Emerging Diseases & Zoonosis Section spoke during a press conference about the current situation regarding the coronavirus, held in Geneva, Switzerland on January 29, 2020.

Denis Balibouse – Reuters| Reuters

Merck’The announcement by the World Health Organization that the experimental antiviral medication is safe against Covid-19’s most serious outcomes is “certainly positive news”, a World Health Organization official stated Tuesday. However, the agency is still waiting for clinical trials data.

“We’re looking forward to receiving the data from them,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid, said during a virtual Q&A. Everyone wants early treatment to prevent the patient from becoming a death sentence.

U.S. Drugmaker said Friday the medication – known as molnupiravir – was shown in a phase three trial to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by around 50% for adults with mild-to-moderate cases of Covid. It prevents the virus from reproducing in the body.

Merck’s Molnupiravir is a mouth-to-mouth drug, unlike Gilead Sciences’ intravenous drug Remdesivir. The FDA would approve it, making this a significant breakthrough in the fight against Covid.

It is important to get vaccinated against the virus. However, doctors believe Merck’s pills will help prevent further complications and save lives.

According to Dr. Mike Ryan of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, Merck’s Pills are a kind of “holy grail”, when it comes to treatments. According to Ryan, the agency has yet to receive the data from clinical trials on the drug.

He said, “If the virus can be stopped before it causes severe illness in someone’s body, that is a great thing.”

Others drug makers are also developing antiviral medications. A pill developed by PfizerCNBC reported that a Covid vaccine developed by BioNTech and marketed to the U.S. could soon be made available.

Ryan stated that public officials and world leaders should consider how much this drug may cost patients. The New York Times reports that a 5-day course of this drug would cost $700 for each patient. This is a third less than the cost of monoclonal antibody monoclonals.

Ryan stated that the cost to treat millions of patients early might be a substantial cost and that it may not be worth the investment. However, Ryan explained that we must look at how this will work.