India's Hetero Labs is pursuing drug regulator DCGI to green light the emergency use of Merck's COVID-19 drug Molnupiravir, after data from a late-stage trial proved that it helped in reducing hospitalisation and accelerated the process of recovery in mild cases. The antiviral drug was developed by Merck & Co in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and is used to treat non-hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
As per the data, the antiviral drug results show significantly low hospital admission, speedy recovery time and early negative SARS-CoV-2 RT PCR results. The drug is currently being tested in a global late-stage study by Merck and Ridgeback and will undergo trial in the fall of 2021.
Hetero said the late-stage trial of Molnupiravir, conducted at COVID-19 dedicated hospital sites across India, looked at the drug's efficacy and safety in patients with mild COVID-19.
After India was hit by the second covid wave, Merck approached many Indian drug makers in between March and April, including Cipla and Dr Reddy's Laboratories, for expanding the drug's production and to conduct trials in order to speed up its availability in India.
According to a statement by Merck, Molnupiravir was provided to India and more than 100 low and middle-income countries through licence they got from partnerships and after receiving approval or emergency authorisations by local regulatory agencies.
India has witnessed a slowdown of covid cases after it reached its peak in April and May. But experts believe that the third wave will hit in the country in October.
Edited by Purnima Priyadarshini
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