Malaysia in talks to buy COVID-19 pills from Merck, Health News, ET HealthWorld
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in a tweet that he had started negotiations to procure the new drugs, referring on Friday to a Reuters article that said the pill developed by Merck could halve the chances of dying or to be hospitalized for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID. -19.
“As we move on to living with COVID, we will add innovative new treatment options to our arsenal in addition to vaccines,” he said.
Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics plan to apply for emergency use authorization in the United States for the pill as soon as possible and to file regulatory applications globally.
The molnupiravir pill, designed to introduce errors into the virus’s genetic code, is believed to be the first oral antiviral drug for COVID-19.
Current treatment options include the infused antiviral remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc and the generic steroid dexamethasone, which are usually only given after a patient has already been hospitalized.
There was no immediate response to a request for clarification whether the ministry’s negotiations also included Gilead Sciences or Pfizer which is developing an antiviral pill with Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG.