Less than a week after it published study data on the efficiency of its experimental oral drug for Covid-19, American pharma giant Merck announced on Wednesday it has reached an agreement to provide Singapore with the drug, Reuters reported.
Molnupiravir, which is administered as a five-day treatment and is not yet approved by the FDA, will now be part of the drug market in Singapore as well as countries like South Korea, Thailand and Australia.
As announced earlier this year, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)signed 1.2 million agreement to buy 1.7 million of five-day treatment courses of the drug for use in the US, but it will come into effect once FDA issues authorization or approval for molnupiravir.
Merck’s antiviral treatment is developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and it works by introducing genetic errors into the virus, thus preventing it from being able to replicate itself, particularly when initiated early in the course of illness.
The clinical trials data Merck announced last week showed that molnupiravir reduced the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization by 50% at unvaccinated participants. It also said the treatment is effective against all variants of the virus since it does not function by targeting specific spike proteins.
Merck is currently seeking emergency use authorization for molnupiravir from the US Food and Drug Administration, but Chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci declined to give a timeline on when the drug might be approved though he called the results of the trial impressive.