In a major development, Merck and Ridgeback’s investigational oral antiviral Molnupiravir for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 is likely to get approval “within days.”
The medicine is meant for adults who are at risk for progressing to severe Covid-19 or hospitalization.
Dr. Ram Vishwakarma, chairman of the covid strategy group, CSIR, said, the oral pill will make a difference and “as we move from pandemic to endemic, these are the ones which are going to be more important than vaccination.”
He informed that the data for Molnupiravir has been “sitting with the regulator” for approval.
“So already SECs are looking at it. And I think they will they will get faster approval now. And therefore, it would it be safe to say that within the next one month, there would be a decision on approval for the Merck drug,” he added.
Merck has already contracted five companies “and the way Merck has given this license to several companies, Pfizer will also do because Pfizer will have to utilize the Indian capacity to manufacture the drugs that are required for global use.
Another pill from Pfizer, Paxlovid cuts the risk of hospitalization or fatality by 89 percent in vulnerable adults.
Dr. Vishakarma also mentioned that medicine might initially cost “2000 to 4000 rupees per cycle of treatment, then it will come down to 500 to 600 or 1,000 rupees”.
“I think here when the government of India comes into play, they will buy in bulk from these companies and of course, they will have a dual pricing system and a staggered pricing system,” he said.