As the coronavirus vaccination rollout is progressing steadily in different countries, a new pill that is under development could catalyze the human fight against the deadly pandemic that has already claimed the lives of more than 2.6 million people worldwide. This experimental Covid-19 drug that promises to be a kind of Tamiflu has shown positive results in the initial phases of experiments, and medical experts believe that this pill could soon become the first oral antiviral against the disease.
Coronavirus pill: A joint effort of Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP
The new coronavirus pill is being developed by Merck & Co and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP. In a virtual meeting conducted on Saturday, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP revealed that the intake of this new pill has significantly reduced infectious virus in subjects in a mid-stage study after five days of treatment. Ridgeback Biotherapeutics revealed that further studies on this experimental drug named molnupiravir are currently underway.
Molnupiravir could replace remdesivir
In the initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, medical experts have very few choices to treat the viral infection. The only antiviral medication that was authorized to treat coronavirus was remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc. However, Remdesivir has shown only a modest benefit among hospitalized patients.
"It's tantalizing and interesting, but it's not exactly 100% complete. What we need to confirm is that there's a clinical benefit," said Carl Dieffenbach, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who wasn't involved in the study, Wall Street Journal reports.
Interestingly, molnupiravir attacks a portion of the coronavirus that helps it reproduce, instead of targeting the spike protein protruding from the surface of the virus.
According to the latest updates, there are more than 117 million Covid-19 positive cases worldwide, and several countries including India have started showing signs of a surge in cases again after showing signs of flattening the curve.