Merck, a leading Germany-based pharmaceutical giant, and its American partner have reportedly unveiled promising results from trials of a drug administered orally to battle against COVID-19 infection, stating that it aids in reducing the viral load among patients.
Chief medical officer, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, Wendy Painter, stated that during a time when there is a significantly unfulfilled need for antiviral treatments against coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the firm is motivated by the discovery of these preliminary data findings.
In January, the leading German pharmaceutical giant had stopped work on two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, however its continued research on two products for the treatment of disease, which included a pill-based solution named molnupiravir, which Merck has developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
This particular drug induced a significant fall in the viral load of the patients nearly five days after its consumption, Merck stated during a meeting with infectious disease professionals.
The Phase 2a test, which are drug trials that basically have three stages of testing before a product could be approved, was implemented on 202 non-hospitalized individuals having COVID-19 symptoms.
Anti-viral oral-based drugs like zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are at times prescribed for seasonal flu, however researchers have not yet come up with something quite similar to fight the COVID-19 disease.
A lead investigator of the study and professor of medicine, University of North Carolina, William Fischer, stated that the findings of the study, a faster drop in viral load amongst people diagnosed with early-stage coronavirus who are treated with molnupiravir, are immensely promising.
Fischer further added that if supported by more studies, they might have significant public health implications, especially during a time when the coronavirus continues to spread as well as evolve across the globe.
Meanwhile, Merck is also working on an additional oral-based COVID-19 treatment named MK-711.
In January, the firm stated that initial results from clinical trials of MK-711 showed an approximate 50% reduction in risk of death or respiratory problem in patients admitted in hospitals with moderate to severe coronavirus infection.