March 25, 2023

The Indie Toaster

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Charge: Merck Covid anti-pill


War Jeffrey Smith – Capital markets happy, but happy with last week’s announcement by Merck (NYSE 🙂 (SA :)) it may have a useful drug Govit-19 May be given in tablet form probably in advance.

Of course the messages can be taken for granted. Intermediate results of the compressed phase 3 test – usually in series of trials required for new drugs – can be effective in preventing acute illness and death, and relieving significant side effects.

If this is confirmed by regulators, the world will find the vaccine the first effective treatment for vaccines — relatively easier than vaccines, distribution and mass administration.

However, this is unlikely to be an isolated alternative to the biggest problem in controlling Govt-19: even lower vaccination rates in poorer countries. Less than 20% of India’s population of 1.38 billion is fully vaccinated. Of the seven most populous countries in Africa, representing more than 730 million people, only South Africa has a vaccination rate of more than 6%. Molnupravir does not prevent the uncontrolled spread and transmission of the disease among these people.

An antiviral pill is primarily a drug, not an immunization. This is not an adequate alternative to mass vaccination. Merck’s press release indicates that the drug has some vaccine quality, but the clinical trial focused solely on treating those with covid.

Therefore, this drug will have the greatest impact – at least in principle – in rich countries, as a second line in the fight against infection among vaccinated people and as a safety net for significant minorities. Denied or unable to get vaccinated.

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Another question is whether government-backed health plans are ready for $ 700 pill treatment for people who have rejected the $ 20 vaccine, especially as people are more likely to accept the first and best protection against Govt.

However, before getting to this point, there are important questions to ask. Very urgent and safety related.

While Merck excluded pregnant women from its testing and urged patients to avoid sexual intercourse during treatment, the technology of drugs that deliberately inhibit the viral response did not rule out the risk of side effects. Apparently, things like this are beyond the scope of a 29-day trial.

Assuming the drug is finally approved, Merck seems ready to do his best with it. The company already has a $ 1.2 billion sales deal with the United States, while others are in line to place orders: Australia ordered 300,000 treatment units earlier this week.

But in the absence of public information about the price in its initial agreement with Indian generic drug manufacturers, it is not possible to imagine how effective the drug will be in poor countries. Also, the company is unlikely to be the only player on the field for a long time. Roche (OTC 🙂 and Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 (SA 🙂 They have antiviral drugs in development.

All of this is good for consumers, health systems, and anyone who wants to get back to pre-Govt status as soon as possible. But the real aquatic mass vaccine for infections remains. Ultimately, the benefits of achieving this seem far greater than the rewards awaiting Merck shareholders.

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