Merck laboratory launches anti-Covid pill for low-income countries

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This is a step forward in the fight against Covid-19 around the world. Nearly thirty generic drug manufacturers will manufacture molnupiravir, the anti-Covid pill from the American pharmaceutical group Merck at an affordable price for the 105 poorest countries. This agreement was signed on Thursday by the Medicines Patent Pool.

 » We are confident that these long-awaited treatments will soon be available in low- and middle-income countries. “, promised Charles Gore, the executive director of the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) in a press release.

The agreement signed with 27 drugmakers follows the voluntary license agreement signed with Merck in October 2021. It aims to facilitate global access to molnupiravir at an affordable price.

These 27 companies will manufacture the ingredients or the drug itself. They are based in 11 different countries: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Vietnam, among others.

Reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 30%

Merck’s anti-Covid pill can be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms and should reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 30% among the frail population.

In November, the giant Pfizer announced a similar agreement allowing 95 low- and middle-income countries, i.e. half of the world’s population, to access its oral anti-Covid treatment, marketed as Paxlovid. It would reduce the risk of serious symptoms by 90%.

Covid pills are easier to make than vaccines and don’t need refrigeration, removing a major hurdle for poor nations.

Read: Covid-19: “BA.2” the new iteration of the Omicron variant that is gaining ground

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