NH medical community optimistic about potential of COVID-19 pill

Drugmaker Merck has produced what could be the first pill to help fight the impact of COVID-19 and the medical community in New Hampshire is guardedly excited.“This new resurgence of delta has sucked the wind out of us. So, we need good news,” Dr. Donald Reape, an internist at St. Joseph Hospital, said.The antiviral known as molnupiravir, would be given as a series of pills over five days after symptoms appear. The Merck study tracked 775 adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who were considered at higher risk for severe disease. “I think it’s very, very positive. From the data that I’ve seen, it’s a very promising antiviral that could have a big impact on preventing hospitalizations and deaths,” Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, said. Hospitalizations of those taking the drug were half of those in the placebo pills. Eight people in the placebo group died, compared to 0 deaths in those who took the drug.“We’re very excited about the potential, but obviously we’ll want to see more as that data and information comes forward,” Ahnen said.Currently, monoclonal antibody infusion is the only approved treatment for those who are sick and in a high-risk group. While it is available across the state, it requires an appointment. A pill could be taken at home.”We have patients in the hospital presently, that, had we had a pill available or had they gotten vaccinated, they wouldn’t be in our ICU on a ventilator right now,” Reape said. Vaccination is still considered the best tool in the fight against COVID-19, hospital officials said.If the Merck pill is authorized for emergency use, the federal government has contracted to purchase 1.7 million doses to make the therapy immediately available.** Town-by-town: COVID-19 case data | Vaccination data **–

Drugmaker Merck has produced what could be the first pill to help fight the impact of COVID-19 and the medical community in New Hampshire is guardedly excited.

“This new resurgence of delta has sucked the wind out of us. So, we need good news,” Dr. Donald Reape, an internist at St. Joseph Hospital, said.

The antiviral known as molnupiravir, would be given as a series of pills over five days after symptoms appear.

The Merck study tracked 775 adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who were considered at higher risk for severe disease.

“I think it’s very, very positive. From the data that I’ve seen, it’s a very promising antiviral that could have a big impact on preventing hospitalizations and deaths,” Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, said.

Hospitalizations of those taking the drug were half of those in the placebo pills. Eight people in the placebo group died, compared to 0 deaths in those who took the drug.

“We’re very excited about the potential, but obviously we’ll want to see more as that data and information comes forward,” Ahnen said.

Currently, monoclonal antibody infusion is the only approved treatment for those who are sick and in a high-risk group. While it is available across the state, it requires an appointment. A pill could be taken at home.

“We have patients in the hospital presently, that, had we had a pill available or had they gotten vaccinated, they wouldn’t be in our ICU on a ventilator right now,” Reape said.

Vaccination is still considered the best tool in the fight against COVID-19, hospital officials said.

If the Merck pill is authorized for emergency use, the federal government has contracted to purchase 1.7 million doses to make the therapy immediately available.

** Town-by-town: COVID-19 case data | Vaccination data **


https://www.wmur.com/article/new-hampshire-merck-covid-pill/37827705

Christin Hakim

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