The US government has signed a multi-billion dollar preliminary agreement with the US pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. (MSD) to purchase an experimental coronavirus drug. If the molnupiravir pill developed by MSD for Covid-19 diseases receives emergency or full approval by the US authorities, the US would order 1.7 million treatment units of the drug, the Department of Health announced in Washington today.
Molnupiravir is currently in phase 3 clinical trials. According to MSD, if the contract is finally concluded, the US will pay around $ 1.2 billion (almost one billion euros) for the 1.7 million treatment units of molnupiravir. In the current clinical trial phase, the drug is being used in 1,850 people. The study results are expected in autumn.
Treatment with molnupiravir, which MSD is jointly developing with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, lasts five days. The drug is a so-called polymerase inhibitor. Such drugs block a specific enzyme that viruses need to reproduce their RNA. Molnupiravir has also been tested in clinical trials against viral diseases such as influenza and Ebola, but is not approved for these diseases.