WHO OKs molnupiravir as treatment for Covid-19, after new data from India
The WHO updated its guidelines on Wednesday to recommend molnupiravir, Merck’s antiviral pill, for treating patients newly diagnosed with Covid-19.
It’s the first Covid-19 pill recommended by the WHO, coming before any recommendation around Pfizer’s Paxlovid, despite continued questions about the precise magnitude of benefit and the risks associated with the Merck drug.
The new decision, however, comes after a trial in India on a generic version of molnupiravir found the pill reduced the risk of hospitalization from Covid-19 by 65%. Although not conclusive, it was another data point in the ongoing debate over molnupiravir’s efficacy. Merck’s initial data showed the pill cut the risk of hospitalization among high-risk Covid-19 patients in half, but later analyses of the same trial cut that number to just 30% — a drop the company struggled to explain to the FDA.
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