Finally, we have two Covid-19 pills in hand now as Pfizer introduces Paxlovid ahead of Molnupiravir, manufactured by Merck.
A new anti-viral pill for COVID-19 treatment from pharma giants Merck and Pfizer Inc, aims to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and even death. These new drugs – Merck’s Molnupiravir and Pfizer’s Paxlovid – are currently in their clinical trials but have shown promising results, especially the latter, which claims to reduce the risk of hospitalisation by 89 percent.
And countries have already started recognising the significance of these pills, with the United Kingdom being the first country to approve Molnupiravir and purchased nearly half a million courses.
Molnupiravir was actually the first oral tablet developed for the treatment of symptomatic Covid-19 patients. Initial data on the pill shows it can cut down hospitalizations by half. Both Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir are pills to be taken orally.
💊Exciting news today about another oral therapy for early COVID: reduced hospitalization & mortality.— Nick Mark MD (@nickmmark) November 5, 2021
Here’s a Deep dive 🧵 on the new PF-07321332 protease inhibitor (“Paxlovid”) & the very impressive results announced from the EPIC-HR trial.
TL/DR: this is a big deal.
Neither pill can be taken as a preventive measure. It is to be consumed only by people who test positive for Covid-19 and show symptoms. Merck manufactured Molnupiravir was administered to 775 patients who tested positive for Covid-19. Among patients receiving Molnupiravir, only 7.3 per cent were hospitalized and none developed a fatal infection.
Reports suggest that countries across the globe are currently negotiating prices with both Pfizer and Merck. A World Health Organization-led program is working to provide these antiviral drugs at as low as ten dollars per course, according to Reuters.