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Merck’s COVID-19 drug may get approval amid growing patients

Merck’s COVID-19 drug may get approval amid growing patients

Posted March. 19, 2022 07:23,   

Updated March. 19, 2022 07:23


With the COVID-19 pandemic getting out of control, the South Korean government has decided to introduce a new type of oral medicine in the nation. It was said on Friday that it will give an accelerated approval to Merck KGaA’s Molnupiravir next week at the earliest.

“Merck’s COVID-19 pill is currently at the final stages of verification for efficacy and safety led by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety,” said a South Korean government official. “The MFDS is likely to grant the treatment emergency authorization next week at the earliest or later this month or earlier April at the latest.” The manufacturer said that it can ensure an immediate supply upon approval.

Since the government pre-ordered 242,000 doses of this oral pill, approval has been on hold due to the 30 percent of its likelihood of preventing hospitalizations and deaths as per clinical tests. However, a growing number of major countries have recently started using this pill with the World Health Organization’s recommendation of its usage. Pfizer’s Paxlovid has stayed in a serious supply crunch since it was introduced in January.

Even if oral treatments may become available across the nation, they will only make some limited difference in reducing a heavy workload for the medical response system due to the spikes of the Omicron variant. Amid the growing public criticism that the government’s lessening of quarantine rules has caused surges in the number of confirmed cases, it announced on Friday that the current six-person limit on social gatherings will be loosened to allow up to eight persons to gather starting from next Monday until April 3. Added to this, COVID-19 may be relegated to the Class 2 disease from the Class first, according to the administration. Once it is incorporated into the Class 2 group, the reporting of a COVID-19 case should be done “within the first 24 hours” not “upon its confirmation” and isolation measures may be lifted such as the current at-home treatment policy.

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