WHO says antiviral drugs are good news, waiting for data

Read Time:2 Minute, 23 Second

RT: On January 29, 2020, Maria Van Kerkhove, head of emerging and zoonotic diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO), delivered a speech at the UN press conference on the coronavirus situation.

Dennis Barribus | Reuters

MerckAn official from the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that while international agencies were waiting for clinical trial data on the drug, it was “certainly good news” to announce that its experimental antiviral pill was effective against Covid-19’s worst results.

Maria Van Kerkhove, head of Covid technology at WHO, said in a virtual Q&A: “We look forward to receiving their data.” “I think everyone wants to get treatment earlier so that we can prevent people from actually, you know , Entered that serious state and actually died of this disease.”

U.S. drugmaker Friday said The drug, called monelavir, was shown in the third phase of the trial to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in adults with mild to moderate Covid cases by approximately 50%. It works by inhibiting the replication of viruses in the body.

Unlike Gilead Sciences’ intravenous drug Remdesivir, Merck’s monelavir can be taken orally. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, this will be the first pill to treat Covid. Covid is a potentially game-changing advancement in the fight against this virus. On average, more than 1,700 Americans are killed every day.

Although vaccination is still the best form of fighting the virus, health experts hope that pills like Merck will prevent the disease from progressing in infected people and prevent them from going to the hospital.

Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Project, said that pills like Merck are considered the “Holy Grail” of treatment. He said the agency is still waiting to see the original clinical trial data for the drug.

He said: “If you can stop the virus before it makes someone seriously ill, then in that sense, it will change the rules of the game.”

Other drugmakers are also studying antiviral pills. A pill developed by PfizerCEO Albert Bourla told CNBC in April that the company and BioNTech have developed the first authorized Covid vaccine in the United States, which may be available by the end of this year.

Ryan also said that world leaders and public health officials should also consider how much the drug might cost patients. According to the New York Times, a five-day course of treatment of the drug will cost the federal government approximately US$700 per patient, which is one-third of the current cost of monoclonal antibodies.

“The cost of treating millions of people early may be high and it may be worth the investment, but we have to see how this will work,” Ryan said.

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