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Merck expects COVID-19 pill molnupiravir to be effective against Omicron variant

Merck expects COVID-19 pill molnupiravir to be effective against Omicron variant

File photo of Merck's COVID-19 treatment pill molnupiravir on May 17, 2021. (Photo: Merck and Co/Handout via Reuters)

Merck's COVID-19 oral pill molnupiravir has a mechanism of action that can work against Omicron and any other variant, a company executive said on Monday (Jan 10).

"We're very confident that it will affect Omicron ... This mechanism in the molecule (will) work for Omicron, and I would imagine against any variant that comes up," Dean Li, president of Merck Research Laboratories, said at JP Morgan's annual healthcare conference.

Data on molnupiravir's impact against Omicron is not yet available, but the pill was shown to be 30 per cent effective at reducing hospitalisations and deaths, based on data from 1,433 patients, as per the latest data released in November last year.

However, this data showed significantly less effectiveness compared to the previous figure of 50 per cent.

The pill received authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration last month, as well as in several other countries like the UK, Japan and India, with various countries signing agreements to buy the drug.

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Source: Reuters/mi

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