Merck this week announced a new pill to treat COVID-19 and an emergency approval application, which Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health could be launched by the end of 2021.
“If everything works according to plan, ie the emergency approval, robust clinical data of phase three and all signals look good,” he told Fox News Live on Sunday. “I think this is something we can hopefully see on shelves or prescribe patients by the end of the year. And it would be groundbreaking.”
Dr. Adalja, member of the Merck Advisory Board, stated that this treatment has been in the works “for some time” and is now showing promising results. The pill will primarily treat patients with breakthrough infections or unvaccinated patients to keep the patients away from the hospital.
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Once the pill is taken, Adalja explained that its function is to prevent the coronavirus from replicating and completing its life cycle. The doctor compared the drug to Tamiflu, which is taken for several consecutive days.
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci put his public seal of approval on CNN’s State of the Union and called the results “pretty impressive,” but Adalja insisted that treatment was still not an alternative to vaccine.
“Prevention is always better than treatment,” he said. “It’s great that we have treatments now, but prevention will always be a priority, especially with safe and effective vaccines like the ones we have in this country.”
Adalja said Pfizer also has a drug for the treatment of COVID-19 on the way, which will hopefully start building an antiviral “portfolio” in medicine.
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“This is part of making COVID something that we can treat every day like other respiratory infections,” he said. “We are looking to a better future with a much more manageable COVID-19.”