Final Analysis Caps Merck’s COVID-19 Antiviral Pill at 30% Efficacy 

November 30, 2021

Last Friday, Merck released a final analysis of its clinical trial for molnupiravir, their COVID-19 antiviral pill. An interim analysis stated molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 50%; it has now been lowered to 30%. Monoclonal antibodies, which are administered intravenously, have been found to reduce hospitalization and death by 70% or more. Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral pill, was found to cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 89% in their clinical trial.

Merck’s clinical trial included over 1,400 participants and did not show major safety concerns. Participants who received molnupiravir demonstrated a 6.8% risk of being hospitalized, versus 9.7% in the placebo group. One patient who received the drug died, versus nine in the placebo group.

The biggest reduction in mortality can be seen in patients who begin the regimen early into their COVID-19 infection when symptoms are still mild. The advisory panel to the FDA will be meeting today to discuss emergency use authorization of molnupiravir for mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults.