Merck Says Study Shows COVID-19 Drug Causes Rapid Virus Decline

FILE PHOTO: The Merck logo is seen on a door at the Merck & Co campus in Rahway, NJ, USA, July 12, 2018. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) – US pharmaceuticals Merck & Co Inc said on Saturday that the experimental antiviral drug molnupiravir it is developing with Ridgeback Bio showed a faster reduction of the infectious virus in its phase 2a study among participants with early COVID-19.

“The secondary objective findings of this study, of a more rapid decline in infectious virus among individuals with early COVID-19 treated with molnupiravir, are promising,” said William Fischer, associate professor of medicine at the University of Medicine School of Medicine. North Carolina, in a statement from the companies.

The antiviral is currently being tested in a phase 2/3 trial to be completed in May.

Merck decided to focus on therapeutics after her two COVID-19 vaccines failed to elicit the desired immune responses, prompting her to leave the program in January.

Report from Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger


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