Merck Double Downs COVID-19 Antiviral Pill Production

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Merck  (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report is reportedly planning to double the production of molnupiravir, an antiviral COVID pill, next year.

The Financial Times reported the drugmaker has secured deals to provide COVID pills to many countries. Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and South Korea are among the reported deals. 

Earlier, Merck  (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report and Ridgeback submitted molnupiravir to the FDA for emergency use authorization. If the FDA grants emergency use approval, molnupiravir could be the first oral antiviral medicine used to treat COVID-19.

“The extraordinary impact of this pandemic demands that we move with unprecedented urgency, and that is what our teams have done by submitting this application for molnupiravir to the FDA within 10 days of receiving the data,” said Merck CEO Rob Davis, in a statement. "We are grateful to the patients and investigators in our study, and of course to our own colleagues who have exemplified Merck’s high standards of scientific excellence and our unwavering commitment to patients."

The drugmakers said that phase 3 clinical trial data showed the drug reduces the chances that patients newly diagnosed with COVID would be hospitalized by about 50%.

"The submission to the FDA is a critical step towards making molnupiravir available to people who may benefit from an oral antiviral medicine that can be taken at home shortly after diagnosis with COVID-19,” said Ridgeback Biotherapeutics CEO Wendy Holman.

Earlier in June, the U.S. government agreed to buy molnupiravir if the FDA recommends usage. 

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