• Monday, Nov 29, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:19 am

Merck strikes deal for global access to Covid drug

  • Published at 09:02 pm October 27th, 2021
An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc
File Photo: An experimental Covid-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters May 17, 2021. Reuters

The global Medicines Patent Pool had signed a voluntary licencing agreement with Merck to facilitate affordable worldwide access for molnupiravir


US drugmaker Merck & Co on Wednesday announced a deal that could see generic versions of its anti-Covid-19 medication for people infected with the disease widely distributed in poorer countries.

The global Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) said it had signed a voluntary licencing agreement with Merck to facilitate affordable worldwide access for its investigational oral Covid-19 antiviral medicine molnupiravir.

Subject to regulatory approval, the deal will help create broad access for use of molnupiravir in 105 low- and middle-income countries.

The US and European Union medicines regulators are already reviewing the drug. Antivirals like molnupiravir work by decreasing the ability of a virus to replicate, thereby slowing down the disease.

Given to patients within days of a positive test, the treatment halves the risk of hospitalization, according to a clinical trial conducted by Merck, also called MSD outside the United States.

The Geneva-based MPP is a United Nations-backed international organization that works to facilitate the development of medicines for low- and middle-income nations.

Under the deal, Merck grants a licence to the MPP, under which the organization can then sub-licence to makers of generic drugs, 

The deal means the drug's developers will not receive sales royalties while Covid-19 remains classified as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization.

A PHEIC is the highest alarm the WHO can sound and its emergency committee last week reconfirmed the pandemic's top-alert status.

"The interim results for molnupiravir are compelling and we see this oral treatment candidate as a potentially important tool to help address the current health crisis," said MPP executive director Charles Gore.

Merck is jointly developing molnupiravir with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

The Miami-based company's chief executive Wendy Holman said: "We are pleased to collaborate with MPP to ensure that quality-assured generic versions of molnupiravir can be developed and distributed quickly following regulatory authorization.

US panel greenlights Pfizer for young kids

A medical panel of US government advisers endorses the Pfizer vaccine in five-to-11-year-olds, paving the way for younger children to get their shots within weeks.

Australia travel ban over

More than 18 months after its shutdown, Australia will lift a ban on citizens travelling overseas without permission, the government says, with the border set to open to skilled workers and international students by year's end.

Meanwhile, the country authorizes booster shots for over-18s, with the third dose expected to be offered to the entire population from next month.

Nobel ceremony in person

The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, held online last year due to the pandemic, will go ahead in person in December with the 2021 laureates both in attendance, the Norwegian Nobel Committee says.

Jobs alert from UN

The impact of the pandemic on jobs has been harder than previously expected, and a worrying two-speed recovery is emerging between richer and poorer nations, the UN's International Labour Organization warns.

55
Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail