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Merck (MRK) Stock Up 1%, UK Regulator Approves Its COVID-19 Pill Molnupiravir

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by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Merck (MRK) Stock Up 1%, UK Regulator Approves Its COVID-19 Pill Molnupiravir
Photo: Depositphotos

Following the approval of the Molnupiravir Covid-19 pill by the UK medicine regulator, Merck said it is on track to deliver as many as 10 million courses by the end of this year.

Molnupiravir, the COVID-19 treatment pill that was developed by the duo of American multinational pharmaceutical companies, Merck & Co., Inc (NYSE: MRK) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 by the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). According to a CNBC report, Britain will be the first country to grant approval for Molnupiravir which is sold under the commercial name, Lagevrio.

The approval of the pill comes off after a series of tests and certifications on its efficacy by a number of British scientists.

“Following a rigorous review of the data by our expert scientists and clinicians, we are satisfied that Lagevrio (molnupiravir) is safe and effective for those at risk of developing severe Covid-19 disease and have granted its approval,” said June Raine, MHRA’s Chief Executive. “Lagevrio is another therapeutic to add to our armoury against Covid-19. It is also the world’s first approved antiviral for this disease that can be taken by mouth rather than administered intravenously. This is important because it means it can be administered outside of a hospital setting before Covid-19 has progressed to a severe stage.”

According to the clinical results, the pill is effective at the early stages of infection, and as such, the MHRA is recommending its usage at most 5 days after the onset of symptoms. Per the report, Molnupiravir has been authorized for use in people who have mild to moderate Covid and at least one risk factor for developing severe illness. The highlighted risk factors include but are not limited to obesity, diabetes mellitus, or heart disease, and anyone over the age of 60.

Molnupiravir works by interfering with the growth process of the Coronavirus. By stalling the ability of the virus to multiply, the pill helps lower complications amongst those who have been infected by the disease by up to 50%.

Merck on Track to Deliver 10M Courses of the COVID-19 Pill Molnupiravir by Year-End

Following the approval of the Molnupiravir Covid-19 pill by the UK medicine regulator, Merck said it is on track to deliver as many as 10 million courses by the end of this year. The company said its capacity can be doubled in the coming year, in relation to demands.

“Right now, we’re on pace to have 10 million courses ready before the end of this year, and more than double that next year,” Merck CEO Robert Davis told “Squawk Box”.

Following a related application for approval in the US, permissions for Emergency Use Authorization may be inked this month as a committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to convene by November 30 to review the Merck-backed treatment. Four Molnupiravir pills are expected to be taken twice daily for 5 days.

The news of the approval sent Merck shares 2.28% to $90.70 in the pre-market as the market opened the stock is 1.62% up.

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Benjamin Godfrey

Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture.

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