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What We Know So Far About The New Covid-19 Pill Molnupiravir

Merck, a US-based pharmaceutical, has released a Covid-19 pill that is said to cut hospitalizations by 50%, and the Philippines will be one of the first to receive it

In just a few short weeks, 2021 will be coming to an end, marking a second holiday season of the world under the Covid-19 pandemic. Seems just like yesterday when news of total lockdowns have been put in place in several countries around the world, and now, in November of 2021, we're already hearing about many nations finally able to live with the virus, opening up their borders, and no longer treating Covid-19 as the health crisis that it once was.

Large mass gatherings like concerts and sporting events have started to take place, especially in the US and Europe, where a huge portion of the population has already been vaccinated against the dreaded disease. As for us here in the Philippines, we continue to slowly get our citizens vaccinated, while allowing businesses to re-open to help the economy survive.

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The world sure moves fast. And when we say fast, we mean that apart from Covid-19 vaccines and boosters, news of a new Covid-19 pill is spreading, which only means there could be more light at the end of the tunnel.

Merck, a US-based pharmaceutical has announced that it's Covid-19 pill mulnopiravir, an oral anti-viral drug that claims to reduce by 50% the hospitalizations in high risk Covid-19 cases, when taken soon after infection. The drug has yet to be approved, but it is already showing great promise in the large-scale clinical trial held by the pharmaceutical. According to Wired, Merck is already seeking emergency approval from the FDA. 

With the possibility of the drug being rolled out by end of this year, where does this leave our country in terms of gaining access to it? Good news for Filipinos, as just a few days ago, it has been announced that the Philippines will be receiving 300,000 courses of the new drug, via licensed importers and distributors, according to Reuters. According to the news piece, each pill will cost around P100-150 locally. 

In addition to this, Merck has granted royalty-free license for mulnopiravir for 105 developing countries, including the Philippines. "Merck has granted a royalty-free license for its promising Covid-19 pill to a United Nations-backed nonprofit in a deal that would allow the drug to be manufactured and sold cheaply in the poorest nations, where vaccines for the coronavirus are in devastatingly short supply", according to The New York Times.

Does this mean that Covid-19 will finally be on its way out in the coming new year? We sure hope so. For more information on Merck, visit their official website.

Lead photo (pills) Reuters, background graphic photo by Marjan Blan | @marjanblan on Unsplash