Malaysia to Buy New Merck Covid Pill to Boost Treatment Options
(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia will purchase 150,000 patient courses of Merck Sharpe & Dohme’s antiviral Covid-19 oral drug molnupiravir as the Southeast Asian nation prepares to treat the outbreak as endemic, according to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
“A study conducted by Merck Sharp & Dohme found molnupiravir reduced the ward admission rate by 50%, and is effective against more virulent Covid-19 virus variants such as gamma, delta and mu,” he said in a statement Thursday.
Malaysia is set to roll out booster shots this month to targeted high risk groups such as healthcare workers, part of the Covid inoculation drive that has so far fully vaccinated 88.8% of the adult population. The government expects to resume interstate travel as soon as 90% of adults complete both doses.
The government signed a letter of undertaking to buy molnupiravir to expand its range of “innovative treatment” options to fight the outbreak, he added.
Still, vaccines remained necessary to prevent the spread of infections. “Molnupiravir cannot prevent infection. We need both methods to lower the disease burden of Covid,” Khairy said.
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