Merck & Co. (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report working with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced that their new antiviral drug, 'Molnupiravir' significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death in non-hospitalized adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in a Phase 3 clinical trial.
7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients in a 29 day period, the company said. The pill, taken orally is especially significant in that it can be taken at home to avoid hospitalization.
Merck plans to submit an application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. FDA as soon as possible based on the findings.
"With the virus continuing to circulate widely, and because therapeutic options currently available are infused and/or require access to a healthcare facility, antiviral treatments that can be taken at home to keep people with COVID-19 out of the hospital are critically needed,” said Wendy Holman, chief executive officer of Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, in a press release.
The Biden Administration, in fact, has already committed to buying 1.7 million doses -- worth around $1.2 billion, if the drug is approved.