Merck to start ‘pivotal’ study of controversial remdesivir alternative in September


Chris Smith

  • Work on coronavirus treatments continues at a rapid pace, with Merck readying several clinical trials for vaccines and an antiviral alternative to remdesivir.
  • Formerly known as EIDD-2801, the MK-4482 drug was at the center of the Rick Bright whistleblower complaint controversy in mid-May. Bright was removed as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in mid-April.
  • Bright worried about the potential side effects of EIDD-2801, as some studies suggested it could cause harmful mutations.
  • Merck said it would conduct “large pivotal studies” involving the drug in September, without disclosing any results from previous phases of human trials.

As promising as vaccines may seem right now, they can't help patients who are already infected with the novel coronavirus. The world still lacks a COVID-19 cure that can speed up recovery, prevent complications, and reduce the risk of death. Remdesivir helps in some cases, but it’s expensive, scarce, and difficult to make. Dexamethasone is cheap, but isn't enough to save every patient's life either. Blood thinners can reduce the risk of coagulation and eliminate some complications, but they’re not a COVID-19 cure by themselves.

Several other promising antibody therapies are in the works, and some of them are already being studied in human trials. Merck has an antiviral drug in testing, and the company is expected to start “large pivotal” studies in September for an oral medicine to rival remdesivir. However, there’s some controversy around this potential coronavirus treatment.

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Merck to start ‘pivotal’ study of controversial remdesivir alternative in September originally appeared on on Fri, 31 Jul 2020 at 19:05:59 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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