U.S. drugmaker Merck announced Saturday that an antiviral drug called Molnupiravir by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, has shown a quicker reduction in infectious COVID-19 virus in its phase 2a study among participants.
“The secondary objective findings in this study, of a quicker decrease in infectious virus among individuals with early COVID-19 treated with Molnupiravir, are promising,” William Fischer, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, in a statement.
"It may be the holy grail on this because it was just studied in phase two trials and it literally stopped the virus in its tracks," Dr. Marc K. Siegel, Professor of Medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center explained. "And there wasn't any virus found in the patients that were studied."
The drug would be used as an at-home, five-day treatment, not unlike Tamiflu, to halt the progress of the virus.
Siegel told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” that the therapeutic could come to market in as little as four to five months. He says the pill has shown “very promising” results in the 182 study participants.
According to Reuters, Merck switched gears in January to focus on therapeutics after its two COVID-19 vaccines failed to garner the desired immune responses.