The deal with the Merck laboratory is subject to FDA approval of the emergency use of the drug molnupiravir, which is in phase 3 of a global clinical trial.
On Wednesday, the United States announced an agreement with the Merck laboratory to purchase 1.7 million treatment batches of an experimental antiviral pill against COVID-19 if approved by federal authorities.
The $ 1.2 billion deal is for the drugmolnupiravir, currently in phase 3 of a global clinical trial among 1,850 people, with results expected in the autumn.
"This agreement is part of the Biden government-wide approach to developing new COVID-19 treatments and responding to public health needs, " said the Department of Health and Human Services.
The United States will only conclude an agreement if the molecule is allowed for emergency use or completed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death. Approved.
Rob Davis, president of Merck, noted that the company "is pleased to be partnering with the United States government on this new agreement that will provide Americans with COVID-19 access to molnupiravir."
The laboratory expects to have more than 10 million batches available for five treatment days by the end of 2021.
The drug is administered orally in capsules every 12 hours for five days, and a course of treatment contains ten doses in total.
Molnupiravir, which Merck is developing in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is one of several investigational oral antivirals tested against COVID-19.
Drugs belong to a class of antivirals called polymerase inhibitors, which work on the enzyme that viruses need to replicate the genetic material they replicate. ۔
It has also been useful in laboratory studies against other viruses such as influenza, Ebola, and Venezuelan-derived encephalitis. However, none of these diseases have been licensed or approved.
But finding effective antiviral drugs was always a challenge for science.
This is because viruses are far more diverse than bacteria, even storing their genetic information, some in the form of DNA and others in RNA, such as SARS-Co-2.
Drug promises for the corona virus have also been identified, but new drugs take a long time to develop, and - as seen in epidemics, viruses change rapidly, which could mean That when a drug is developed, the constantly evolving virus can quickly develop resistance.
After failing to thwart the immune response required by the two vaccines to abandon such programs in January, Merck has decided to focus on its COVID-19 drug.