Coronavirus Watch

Merk’s Covid-19 Pill: ‘Unquestionably a game changer!’

Recently Merck & Co announced its first Covid-19 oral pills which is reportedly reduces chances of dying or being hospitalized due to severe COVID-19 infection.

The oral pill ‘molnupiravir‘, reportedly introduces errors into the genetic code of the virus, which experts hailed as a potential breakthrough in how the virus is treated, writes the Reuters News.

An oral antiviral that can impact hospitalization risk to such a degree would be game-changing.

Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (source: Reuters)

The Merk’s ‘molnupiravir‘ reportedly differs from the Gilead’s antiviral ‘remdesivir‘, which has received FDA emergency use authorization, is given via infusion to hospitalized patients only.

A Pandemic Game Changer

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) writes in a press release that the Merk’s Covid-19 pill “a pandemic game changer“. Clinical trials led by Drs. William Fischer and Tim Sheahan at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed that a new pill treatment eliminates the COVID-19 virus in patients — reads the University’s news release.

This is a real game changer for a pandemic like COVID-19 because it allows us to treat people quicker with a method that’s convenient and accessible.

– William A. Fischer II, an associate professor of pulmonology and critical care at the UNC School of Medicine and director of emerging pathogens at the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (source: UNC-Chapel Hill)

Molnupiravir is unquestionably a game changer! The large effect size, and the ease of administration change the paradigm of mild COVID-19 treatment with a potential to reduce COVID-19 death rates.

Oriol Mitjà, of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital (source: Science)

Quoting The New Work Times, the Science reporter Robert F. Service, Kai Kupferschmidt write “the U.S. government has placed an advance order for 1.7 million doses of molnupiravir at $700 for a 5-day course”.

“A safe, affordable, and effective oral antiviral would be a huge advance in the fight against COVID.”

– Peter Horby, a professor of emerging infectious diseases at the University of Oxford (source: Reuters)

Robert Davis, Merck Chief Executive, told Reuters “This is going to change the dialogue around how to manage COVID-19,”

It’s Not Alternative to Vaccines

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told CNN “This can be used in conjunction with the vaccine. And it’s not an alternative to vaccination. We still have to try to get more people vaccinated.”

“If approved, I think the right way to think about this is this is a potential additional tool in our toolbox to protect people from the worst outcomes of Covid.”

– Jeff Zients, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator (source: CNN Health)


Nahid Bhadelia, director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy & Research at Boston University, told Science “oral antivirals could have ‘an immense impact‘, but for that to happen, rapid tests must be available so treatment can be started early in the disease course. These antivirals are not a replacement for vaccines because it is always better not to get infected in the first place.”

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of October 3, 9 a.m.) 478,410,525 doses have been distributed and 395,934,825 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of September 29) a total of 6,458,044 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of October 1) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 714,790 (out of 12,562,842 tested) with 8,170 deaths.