Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2021. 1:53 pm CST.
By Ruben Morales Iglesias: A COVID-19 pill which is in its mid-stage study shows promise in the treatment of the SARS-CoV-2 which has been ravaging the world.
In a press release dated March 6, 2021, developers Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck announced their preliminary trials of COVID-19, their therapeutic pill “molnupiravir” which shows that the oral drug can reduce the symptoms of the disease after five days of treatment.
These preliminary findings were presented on March 6 during Science SpotlightsTM at the 2021 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.
International reports quote infectious disease experts saying that the experimental molnupiravir could help people who are sick but not hospitalized in the same way that pills to treat the flu do.
At this moment, in the United States, where molnupiravir is being developed, only remdesivir has been authorized to treat COVID-19.
Ridgeback said that on day 5 of the treatment with molnupiravir there was a reduction of symptoms in persons who received the drug as compared to those who received a placebo.
According to the Washington Post “Tests didn’t detect infectious virus in any of the study volunteers who took monupiravir twice a day after five days of treatment, while 24% of subjects who received a placebo did, Ridgeback reported at the virtual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.”
Ridgeback said that molnupiravir (EIDD-2801/MK-4482) is an investigational, oral treatment that inhibits the replication of multiple RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. Molnupiravir has been shown to be active in several models of SARS-CoV-2, including for prophylaxis, treatment, and prevention of transmission, as well as SARS-CoV-1 and MERS.
“Of 202 treated participants, no safety signals have been identified and of the 4 serious adverse events reported, none were considered to study drug-related,” the Ridgeback release said. “In addition to the ongoing clinical studies, Merck has conducted a comprehensive nonclinical program to characterize the safety profile of molnupiravir. Animals were administered molnupiravir for longer and at higher doses than those employed in human studies. The totality of the data from these studies indicates that molnupiravir is not mutagenic or genotoxic in vivo mammalian systems.”
At the virtual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Dr. Wendy Painter, Chief Medical Officer of Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, said: “We are very pleased to share our initial Phase 2 infectivity data at this important conference, which remains at the forefront for critical clinical scientific information in infectious diseases. At a time where there is an unmet need for antiviral treatments against SARS-CoV-2, we are encouraged by these preliminary data.”
University of North Carolina‘s Dr. William Fisher said at the conference: “The secondary objective findings in this study, of a quicker decrease in infectious virus among individuals with early COVID-19 treated with molnupiravir, are promising and if supported by additional studies, could have important public health implications, particularly as the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to spread and evolve globally.”
Dr. Fischer is the lead investigator of the EIDD-2801 2003 study and Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.
Dr. Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories said that they continue to make progress in our Phase 2/3 clinical programs evaluating molnupiravir in both outpatient and hospital settings and plan to provide updates when appropriate.
Ridgeback said that Molnupiravir was invented at Drug Innovations at Emory (DRIVE), LLC, a not-for-profit biotechnology company wholly owned by Emory University.
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