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Merck and Ridgeback’s Oral Antiviral Receives US FDA EUA for Treatment of COVID-19 in Certain Adults

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 24 Dec 2021
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Merck (Kenilworth, NJ, USA) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics (Miami, FL, USA) have been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral (MK-4482, EIDD-2801).

Molnupiravir has not been approved, but has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA under an EUA to treat mild to moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in adults with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, and for whom alternative COVID-19 treatment options authorized by the FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate. Molnupiravir is not authorized for use in patients who are less than 18 years of age, for initiation of treatment in patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, for use for longer than five consecutive days, or for pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19.

The authorization is based on the Phase 3 MOVe-OUT trial, which evaluated molnupiravir 800 mg twice-daily in non-hospitalized adult patients who were unvaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, symptom onset within five days of study randomization, and at least one risk factor associated with poor disease outcomes (e.g., heart disease, diabetes). In analyses from all randomized patients, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death: 9.7% (68/699) of patients in the placebo group were hospitalized or died compared to 6.8% (48/709) of patients who received molnupiravir, for an absolute risk reduction of 3.0%. Nine deaths were reported in the placebo group, and one in the molnupiravir group.

“The FDA Emergency Use Authorization of molnupiravir is an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19, and adds to Merck’s legacy of bringing forward innovative medicines that both address the world’s greatest health threats and help save lives. Because we recognized the promise of molnupiravir early, Merck invested at risk and we are executing an unprecedented global access strategy so that molnupiravir, now authorized, can be available to patients here in the U.S. and all around the world more quickly and more equitably than has ever been accomplished before,” said Robert M. Davis, chief executive officer and president, Merck.

“Today’s authorization provides an additional treatment option against the COVID-19 virus in the form of a pill that can be taken orally. Molnupiravir is limited to situations where other FDA-authorized treatments for COVID-19 are inaccessible or are not clinically appropriate and will be a useful treatment option for some patients with COVID-19 at high risk of hospitalization or death,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “As new variants of the virus continue to emerge, it is crucial to expand the country’s arsenal of COVID-19 therapies using emergency use authorization, while continuing to generate additional data on their safety and effectiveness.”

Related Links:
Merck
Ridgeback Biotherapeutics 


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