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01st Oct 2021

Covid pill halves hospitalisations and deaths, according to manufacturer

Kieran Galpin


A Covid pill could change the course of the pandemic

A study on a potential antiviral pill to treat Covid-19 has found that the chances of hospitalisation and death are reduced by half in patients newly diagnosed with the virus.

Made by the US firm Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, this pill could be the first oral medication that is proven to be effective against Covid-19, reports The Guardian.

Though drugs such as remdesivir have shown to be effective if administered early, all currently approved treatments are required to be either injected or administered through IV infusions. Despite popular belief, ivermectin, a medicine used to treat parasite infections, has never been an approved treatment.

The firm intends to apply for emergency use authorisation in the US within the next two weeks and will then seek approval in numerous other countries.

Despite the study not having been peer-reviewed as of yet, independent medical experts monitoring the drug trial suggested finishing early because the results were so promising.

“It exceeded what I thought the drug might be able to do in this clinical trial,” said Dean Li, the vice-president of Merck research.

They continued: “When you see a 50% reduction in hospitalisation or death, that’s a substantial clinical impact.”

Side effects of the drug have not yet been released but the data shows a promising future for the treatment of Covid. Only 1.3 per cent of participants who received the pill had to quit the study because of an adverse reaction, compared with the 3.4 per cent who quit after taking the placebo.

The introduction of this drug could revolutionise the treatment of Covid-19 across the globe and also be used to combat future viral pandemics.

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