Merck’s antiviral drug being considered by the FDA

December 1, 2021 – According to The Washington Post, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration are meeting to discuss the potential benefits and risks of Merck’s experimental antiviral drug, molnuprivar, to treat COVID-19.  

Molnuprivar was developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics as a pill that can be taken within five days of experiencing COVID symptoms. Recent data even showed that the pill “reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 30% for high-risk patients.” 

The FDA’s Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee plan to discuss whether the potential benefits of the drug outweigh the risks for those who have a heightened risk of serious infection due to their age or an underlying condition. Decreasing the risk of hospitalization could significantly reduce the strain healthcare workers and hospitals as we move into the winter months.  

Molnuprivar works by garbling an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate itself, changing the virus’ genome. This at-home treatment could provide an option for patients who cannot access therapies like monoclonal antibodies.