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Recent Study Claims The Merck Covid Medication Is Connected To Virus Alterations That Can Transfer Between Humans

Recent Study Claims The Merck Covid Medication Is Connected To Virus Alterations That Can Transfer Between Humans
A new study published this week raised concerns about whether the commonly used antiviral Covid tablet from Merck could potentially speed up the evolution of the virus by causing mutations that occasionally transmit to other people.
The research may raise questions regarding the efficacy of the medication molnupiravir, one of the first Covid medications made available to doctors around the world during the pandemic.
Molnupiravir works by altering the genetic code of Covid, weakening or eliminating the virus and lowering the amount of Covid in the body. Covid can occasionally survive treatment with molnupiravir, according to a study published on Monday in the academic journal Nature, but these mutated forms of the virus have been discovered to transmit to additional patients.
15 million Covid genomes were particularly examined by US and UK researchers to determine which mutations had happened and when. After molnupiravir was made available in numerous nations in 2022, they discovered that the number of mutations rose.
According to the study, there is no proof that molnupiravir, marketed as Lagevrio, has led to the development of more contagious or severe Covid variants.
Theo Sanderson, the study's lead author and a researcher at the Francis Crick Institute in London, stated in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the results are crucial for regulators who are still evaluating the dangers and advantages of molnupiravir.
The researchers assumed that the mutations they analysed were related to patients who had taken molnupiravir, the Merck spokesman said, "without documented evidence of that transmission."
“Instead, the authors rely on circumstantial associations between the region from which the sequence was identified and timeframe of sequence collection in countries where molnupiravir is available to draw their conclusion,” the spokesperson said.
According to the spokesman, the mutation-containing genomes were "uncommon and were associated with sporadic cases."
The company challenged an earlier report by the same research team in February that claimed some patients were developing new viral mutations as a result of taking molnupiravir. A spokeswoman for Merck stated that the company didn't think molnupiravir was likely to cause Covid mutations based on the evidence available at the time.
The new study is released as Covid, largely due to newer viral strains, is once again gaining ground in the United States.
However, it seems that this year, the US and other nations are using less molnupiravir to combat COVID: During Merck's third quarter, sales of the medicine fell to about $200 million, a decline of 83% from the more than $1 billion reported during the same period last year.
The ability of Merck's molnupiravir to result in genetic changes has long been a source of debate.
In late 2021, the medicine received its initial emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and medicine Administration. But because non-clinical research indicate that Lagevrio may harm the foetus, the FDA advises against using it while pregnant.
Due to its potential to interfere with bone and cartilage formation, molnupiravir is also not permitted for use in individuals under the age of 18.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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