Merck (MRK) and Sinopharm Signed a COVID Drug Agreement

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Merck & Co. Inc (NYSE:MRK) and Sinopharm, a prominent vaccine producer in China, signed a cooperation framework agreement on Wednesday. According to the terms of the agreement, Sinopharm will serve as a dealer and exclusive commission agent for the antiviral medicine COVID-19 manufactured by MRK in China. 

Merk (MRK) and Sinopharm Statement

According to a statement that Sinopharm and Merck & Co. Inc (NYSE:MRK) provided to the Global Times on Wednesday, the two parties will also negotiate the feasibility of a technology transfer within the framework to determine whether or not the drug Molnupiravir can be produced and provided on the Chinese mainland market. 

The required paperwork for applying to gain approval for the medicine on the mainland has been delivered. As part of the framework for the agreement, Sinopharm would be granted the rights to an exclusive dealership and importation of Molnupiravir. According to the announcement, Sinopharm and Merck & Co. Inc (NYSE:MRK) intends to vigorously promote the localization of manufacturing and administration of the treatment when MSD transfers the expertise to assist China in its fight against the pandemic. 

Molnupiravir is one of the two oral COVID-19 medications that are used the most frequently. Paxlovid, made by Pfizer, is the alternative option. 

According to the statement, the drug molnupiravir has been approved for use or made available for use in an emergency setting in more than 40 countries and regions, including the United States, the European Union, Australia, Japan, and South Korea, as well as the regions of Hong Kong and Taiwan in China. At the end of August, MSD had treated more than 1.8 million patients and provided 8.6 million courses of molnupiravir to about 30 markets. 

At the signing ceremony, Wu Hao, chief of the Infectious Diseases Department at Beijing Youan Hospital, Capital University of Medical Sciences, stated that Molnupiravir is a medication that can be taken orally. It can treat mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 in adults at risk of hospitalization and progression to severe illness. Previous research has demonstrated that it can significantly reduce the number of people who end up in the hospital or die. 

The medication made by Merck & Co. Inc (NYSE:MRK) and Sinopharm eases symptoms such as anosmia, fever, and cough, and research has shown that it can reduce the likelihood of hospitalization or mortality by as much as 30 percent. According to Wu, the viral load may experience a significant reduction on the third, fifth, and tenth days after therapy. 

According to Wu, the results of an animal trial involving ferrets demonstrated that individuals with COVID-19 become non-infectious 24 to 36 hours after the beginning of oral treatment. 

According to Wu, previous research and evidence from the real world demonstrated that Molnupiravir possesses antiviral effectiveness against various SAR-CoV-2 variants, including the dominant Omicron. 

Small-molecule antiviral medications, such as molnupiravir, may have therapeutic benefits against the sublineages BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants, according to a study that was published at the beginning of August in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

According to Wu, data gathered from China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region showed that using Molnupiravir was associated with significantly lower risk. 47% lower disease progression than not using it and a 45% lower mortality risk than not using it. Both results were significantly better than not using it. 

Molnupiravir, in contrast to other oral antiviral therapies, does not result in negative interactions with the medications already in use. This is one of the many benefits of using this medication. According to Wu, it is appropriate for COVID-19 patients with kidneys or liver damage. This drug can also be used for those who are older and of any weight. 

“In light of the virus’s propensity to change quickly, we require a greater variety of COVID-19 therapy choices. China’s most recent weapon in its arsenal against the epidemic is molnupiravir, “Wu stated. 

During the signing event, the Chairman of Sinopharm, Liu Jingzhen, stated that the company’s collaboration with Merck & Co. Inc (NYSE:MRK) is an active practice that can treat COVID-19 and develop a global health community for all. Liu had high hopes that the two parties would be able to use each other’s advantages, foster increased international cooperation, and supply Chinese patients with competent, easily accessible, and reasonably priced medications as quickly as feasible. 

Merck & Co. Inc (NYSE:MRK)’s chief executive officer and president, Rob Davis, stated that the company is happy to partner with Sinopharm to deliver the medication to China. Davis said this in response to a question about the remark. 

According to the statement, “it is our latest important endeavor to help the globe combat the pandemic and promote the global adoption of the medication.”

About the author: Valerie Ablang is a freelance writer with a background in scientific research and an interest in stock market analysis. She previously worked as an article writer for various industrial niches. Aside from being a writer, she is also a professional chemist, wife, and mother to her son. She loves to spend her free time watching movies and learning creative design.