Merck Covid Treatment Pill Expected By End Of 2021

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Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health says that the COVID-19 treatment pill announced by Merck & Co Inc (NYSE:MRK) last week, could be available in the market by the end of this year.

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Merck Treatment

Dr. Adalja –also a member of Merck’s advisory board– was quoted as saying on Fox News that the pill –which has been in the works for some time– is showing positive results in the treatment of coronavirus.

“If everything works according to plan, meaning the emergency use authorization, robust phase three clinical data and all of the signals look good,” he said.

He also asserted “this is something hopefully by the end of the year we might see on shelves or be able to be prescribed to patients. And it would be game-changing.”

The treatment is reported to be deployed on patients suffering breakthrough infections, or on the unvaccinated, “in order to keep people out of the hospital.”

Dr. Adalja said the pill will be critical to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in the body and completing its life cycle, similar to how the drug Tamiflu functions –which is prescribed for the treatment of Influenza A and Influenza B.

An Antiviral Portfolio

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Dr. Anthony Fauci,  director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the U.S., expressed that the preliminary results of Merck’s treatment were “quite impressive.”

Recognizing that the pill cannot replace the vaccine, Dr. Adalja said “Prevention is always better than treatment.”

“It’s great that we’ve got treatments now but prevention is always going to be the priority, especially with safe and effective vaccines like we have in this country.”

The expert also pointed to the fact that Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) is currently preparing a COVID-19 medication that is expected to widen the set of tools that medical authorities and governments have to fight the disease.

He said: “This is part of making COVID something that we can treat like other respiratory infections, day in and day out … We’re looking to a better future with a much more manageable COVID-19.”

As of today, the U.S. has seen 43.7 million cases and 701,000 deaths since the pandemic started.