Are Covid pills the ultimate weopon against Covid-19 infections? Reports claim Covid will never fade away and will have to be adopted as a way of living. If this is how it is going to be, then people want to know how can one fight upcoming strains in the best possible way. Vaccines have seemed to have been effective just against two strains, but what about those mutant strains that might appear in the future?
Covid-19 is there a cure or prevention alone is a go-to-go feature of the disease?
Covid (Coronavirus alternately known as SARS-CoV), is a fatal condition in some while others are prone to suffer intensely. Millions have lost their lives during these two years due to this unknown strain of SARS-CoV. It took us a long time to believe the pandemic that the pandemic was actually happening, and by then millions had already fallen prey to it and some others had fatally contracted it.
Lockdowns, masks and several sanitization practices have been used but none could prevent fatality for some. However, these measures when strictly followed brought down the number of people affected by them.
These measures still could not prevent the vulnerable from contracting serious infections, thereby leading to hospitalizations and treatment with existing antivirals, antimalarials, antihelmintics, and whatnot! Then came the vaccines.
Mass vaccinations were targeted and to date, more than 2 billion people have already been vaccinated successfully across all countries.
But, then we have till now faced two large bouts of the pandemic and the next stands in tow. Many claim including some major organizations like CDC & UNICEF that whether vaccinated or not, individuals can still contract and die due to the delta variant.
Questions abound as to why so many people took the vaccine at all. It is even being claimed that vaccines cannot bring down the fatality rate being anticipated due to the delta variant.
Someone meanwhile spoke about Covid pills? What are they and how are they effective against Covid? Have they been tested?
What are Covid pills and how effective are they?
Many have already put the “Next, what?” question and tremble in fear of another lockdown. There is no more space for any more losses and as the world holds it, people lost jobs, faced financial burnouts, and suffered massively due to lockdowns. Government funds, social service organizations and so on, could not change the fate of people and people largely reeled under the impact of lockdowns.
Well, for all these speculations and questions, the answer is a drug. A drug in the form of a pill or capsule is what can prevent further strains from causing fatalities.
The good news is, such a drug is already underway and is being attempted by two of the drug giants of the world- Merck and Pfizer.
Now, with these drugs can Covid be treated as a generic disease going further?
Going by the names of Molnupiravir (Merck) and Paxlovid (Pfizer), both companies claim that these two therapeutic agents have shown promising results when administered as Covid-19 pills. They can be used to treat Covid, thus even preventing hospitalization and severe symptoms.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
Merck Covid pill- Molnupiravir (Lavgevrio)
Merck’s pill Molnupiravir (which works by preventing replication of specific RNA viruses) is already approved by the United Kingdom’s drug regulatory bodies.
It will be given twice daily (three pills in the morning and night) to those freshly diagnosed with the disease. Originally built to treat flu, Molnupiravir is claiming to be capable of bringing down the risk of fatality and hospitalization by almost about half. Being a nuclease inhibitor it will prevent the evolution of the coronavirus preventing random mutations in the virus.
Going forth, the frail and immunocompromised citizens of the world need not suffer or worry. Almost seven studies of Molnupiravir have already entered the clinical trial gov site.
- One of the studies is terminated, the one that was designed to study the safety and efficacy of MK-4482.
- Another study is active but is not recruiting actively.
- Three of the studies are actively recruiting.
- One is known to be studying the possibility of prevention of COVID-19.
- Another is studying the safety of the Molnupiravir administration.
- AGILE studies that are an early phase platform trial.
- Two studies are already completed and you can read more about them from the provided links.
According to a study result cited in the recent article, Molnupiravir is the first molecule that is showing a high level of efficacy in decreasing the SARS-CoV2 infectious virus and even acting effectively against the viral RNA. Also, the safety and tolerability results in patients were found to be satisfactory.
Pfizer Covid pill
Paxlovid, the Pfizer Covid pill, is also known as PF-07321332 is known to be a protease inhibitor and has demonstrated significant anti-viral efficacy. It is being given in combination with ritonavir and boosts the activity of the protease inhibitors.
According to a recent report, it was revealed that Paxlovid is 89% effective in people suffering from Covid-19. The study was reported in the British Medical Journal on 08th November 2021. The study shows promises in the fields of safety, efficacy and also tolerability towards the medication. Safety and tolerability were done on 1881 patients and the study reported no deaths until day 28.
Pfizer will go ahead and submit the data to the FDA as an ongoing rolling submission. The drug has also demonstrated effective anti-retroviral activity in-vitro. The drug’s effectiveness has been proved even in Phase II as well as Phase III of the several undergoing clinical trials.
The entire study is an EPIC-HR Phase II/III randomized double-blind study and has successfully met its primary endpoint that is an 89% reduction in the chances of hospitalization and death in Covid patients.
Paxlovid’s late-stage Clinical Program
|Trial||Types of subjects chosen||Outcome of the trials|
|Epic-HR||Adults at high risk of the disease but not hospitalized||July 2021 with 89% risk decrease for interim analysis with 70% enrolment; 50% subjects are from the United States.|
|Epic-SR||Low risk adults who were not hospitalized||Data is due either in quarter 1 or 2|
|Epic-PEP||Adults who were in contact with household Covid patients, a post prophylaxis treatment||Data is due in Quarter 1 or 2|
Which is better- Paxlovid or Molnupiravir?
Paxlovid is placed better based on the results of the clinical trials to date. We shall see a brief comparison of both drugs in this below segment.
|Actions||Paxlovid (Pfizer)||Molnupiravir (Merck)|
|Efficacy||89% within five days of onset||50% within five days of onset|
|Class of drug||Protease inhibitor||Nucleoside analog|
|Side effects||Gastrointestinal problems||Birth related defects observed in drugs of the same class|
|Cost per course||Not revealed||$700 per course|
|Continent-wise prevalence||The United Kingdom||The United States|
Even though the Covid pill has to achieve many more milestones but still the future of the Covid-19 pandemic does not seem to be as bleak as it seemed two years back. With the pills coming up, life can resume normalcy even if Covid continues to exist in the form of a mere sneeze for all of us.
There is still hope and most importantly, a lot can be preserved, leaving apart the grief and loss that people have already endured during this course of time.