Scientist behind Merck's Covid pill: We need to watch out for resistance
When Mark Denison awoke this month to learn that another one of the drugs from his lab had proven effective against Covid-19, two thoughts rushed through his mind.
“I was so excited to hear that it had this potential,” he said. “And then I thought: Our resistance work is more important than ever.”
Denison, 66, is arguably the scientist most responsible for molnupiravir, the pill Merck announced last week cut the risk of hospitalization or death in newly diagnosed Covid-19 patients by 50%. It came to his Vanderbilt lab alongside another molecule known as 3a — or, as it was later rechristened, remdesivir — in the years after the 2012 MERS outbreak, as Denison worked to identify drugs that could be deployed in the event of another deadly coronavirus spillover.
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