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2021-10-01| COVID-19

Merck Announces Its Oral COVID-19 Drug Cuts Risk of Hospitalization and Death by 50%

by Rajaneesh K. Gopinath
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Early this year, Merck pulled out of the vaccine race after two of its candidates flopped in clinical trials. However, the pharma giant decided to redirect its COVID-19 efforts by developing an investigational oral antiviral, molnupiravir, with Miami-based Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

That decision seems to have paid off as the company today announced positive Phase 3 trial results, claiming that a five-day course of the drug significantly benefitted COVID-19 patients by cutting the risk of hospitalization or death by half!

The overwhelming results have pushed Merck to stop the recruitment into the study early, following the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee and in consultation with the FDA. In light of the news, Merck's shares have increased by 9%, while shares of COVID-19 vaccine makers, Moderna, and BioNTech have plummeted by 15%!

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