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Merck’s Antiviral Covid-19 Pill Gets Approval In Japan

By John F. Heerdink, Jr.

As per reports, the Japanese health ministry panel has approved the use of the COVID-19 antiviral pill, molnupiravir developed by Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) as a part of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s plan to roll out new treatments by year-end amid growing concerns for the rising Omnicron variant.

The country is betting heavily on oral treatments to keep serious infections and deaths at bay fearing the sixth wave of the pandemic. Last month, the government agreed to pay Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics about $1.2 billion for 1.6 million courses of their drug molnupiravir.

“I’m convinced the distribution of this drug is a major step forward for our nation’s COVID-19 handling,” stated health minister Shigeyuki Goto after the decision, adding that some medical institutions and pharmacies will start receiving the pill soon.

After displaying promising initial results, countries rushed to buy Merck’s molnupiravir but subsequent company data in late November indicated the drug was less effective than previously thought. Health minister Shigeyuki Goto informed that the Japanese panel evaluated the use of molnupiravir based mainly on the earlier test result, he added that the updated result “does not negate this drug’s effectiveness”.

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) is a global healthcare solutions provider that has been working towards bringing forward medicine and vaccines for some of the world’s most challenging diseases for more than a century. They are committed to increasing health care access and continue to be at the leading edge of research. Merck has the industry’s largest immuno-oncology clinical research program. To learn more about Merck (MRK) and to track its ongoing progress please visit the Vista Partners Merck Coverage Page.

If you liked this story please consider, visiting the Atossa Therapeutics (ATOS) dedicated page at Vista Partners to learn about the Seattle-based biotech firm’s work towards finding therapeutic treatments for Breast Cancer and the Coronavirus. 

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(Read Original Story: UPDATE 2-Japan health panel approves Merck's oral COVID-19 treatment in Reuters)


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