I feel really sad to read that we have hit the 700,000 death count for Covid-19 in the USA. This is absolutely a tragedy that was preventable. The deaths, orphaned children, economic catastrophe, health worker crisis and mental depression that has occurred since 2020 is cause for sadness and reflection.
But let's look forward! Good news has come out from Merck Pharma about their new anti-viral Molnupiravir, a drug that is currently being safety tested for Covid. Viruses are tricky to treat but we do have experience with anti-viral drugs. We have drugs for HIV that have turned it from a death sentence to a chronic disease. We can treat herpes and even influenza with Tamiflu to shorten the duration. Remdesivir is an anti-viral for Covid but it is given IV so its tough to administer and not a game-changer. So how does Molnupiravir work?
The Corona virus uses an enzyme RNA polymerase to replicate and spread. Molnupiravir inserts a fake Ribonucleoside enzyme into the virus which causes it to go haywire with replication which stops the virus cold. They started testing this drug against influenza in 2019 (before we even heard of Covid) and had good results against influenza and ebola. The trials against Covid showed remarkable results. They studied people around the globe that were positive for Covid, within 5 days of infection and had at least one risk factor for severe disease. None had been vaccinated and these people had all the variants including Delta, Mu and Epsilon. They found 7% of pill takers were hospitalized and none died. Fourteen percent of placebo patients were hospitalized and 8 died. There were no side-effects that caused patients to drop out in the pill taker group. What???? They stopped the trial because it would be unethical to keep giving placebo.
The pill is taken twice daily for 5 days within 5 days of infection. More trials are underway to look at safety profiles, use in pregnant women, use in children, etc. Hopefully we will have those results soon.
Will this replace the vaccine? Hell no, people! We want to prevent infection, not just treat it. But with the vaccine AND an anti-viral that can be taken as a pill, we will be able to stop this pandemic.
So let's give thanks to modern Science, await the results of the studies and remember that elections have consequences, all life is precious and we must all do our part to make this world better for everyone.