Handout . via Reuters
It is called molnupiravir and many consider it the likely turning point in the fight against SarsCov2. It is the “Merck pill”, the American pharmaceutical company that has developed a drug that promises well in the battle against Covid. The European Medicines Authority (EMA) has announced that it has launched the “rolling review” on the experimental anti-Covid drug for adults.
The rolling review is a regulatory tool that EMA uses to accelerate the evaluation of a promising medicine or vaccine during a public health emergency. If licensed, molnupiravir could be the first oral antiviral drug to treat Sars-CoV-2-triggered disease. The times for its evaluation are usually estimated in 2-3 months.
Merck, which develops molnupiravir with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, filed an application for authorization for emergency use in the US on 11 October. In clinical trials, among the high-risk patients who took two pills a day for 5 days, 50% of placebo avoided hospitalization and none died.
The rush to the drug has started. The US, first to the finish line, in June signed a contract worth 1.2 million dollars for 1.7 million cycles: 700 dollars per treatment (10 pills). Other supply agreements have been signed with the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Singapore. Europe also said it was interested in negotiating a supply agreement, but not before the start of the regulatory process.