Zoe Aleksopoulou, clinical research director at Merck Sharp & Dohme, explained how scientists came up with the coronavirus pill.
“Even before the covid pandemic, scientists began using the drug as a cure for the flu. However, during the pandemic, we found that, thanks to its mechanism of action, which suppresses the spread of some RNA viruses, it can be used for other viral infections such as the coronavirus, ”Ms Aleksopoulou explained on ANT1, speaking about Merck tablets.
“In a clinical setting, the effectiveness of the first antiviral (anti-anxiety) drug, which will be released very soon, has been proven,” the expert said, adding that “it is important that the pill is taken orally” by people who have a coronavirus patient in a family environment.
At the same time, as explained by Dr. Aleksopoulou, the study saw “a 50% reduction in patient deaths and hospitalizations,” with the results so dramatic that approval of the drug was accelerated.
For whom Merck tablets are not effective
However, Ms Aleksopulu emphasizes that the pills “should not be seen as a replacement for the vaccine, which will remain our main shield against the coronavirus.”
The specialist also noted that the medicine, in order to be effective, must be taken at the first symptoms and does not help those who are already seriously ill.
When asked about production volumes, she said MSD has already started production. It is estimated that 10 million units of the drug will be produced in 2021 and 20 million units. in 2022.
How much will a Merck tablet cost?
Finally, with regard to the price of the drug, Ms Aleksopulu said that the company’s policy is “rolling” pricing depending on the GDP of each state. That is, countries with high GDP will buy it more expensively, while countries with low GDP will buy it cheaper.
It is noted that the tablet has been approved and will be released in the UK in the coming weeks. In addition, the drug is expected to be approved by the European Coreper Association.