| 15 April 2024, Monday |

India allows emergency use of Merck’s COVID-19 pill, two more vaccines

India’s health minister announced on Twitter that Merck’s (MRK.N) COVID-19 tablet molnupiravir, as well as Serum Institute of India’s Covovax and Biological E’s Corbevax coronavirus vaccines, had received emergency use authorization (EUA).

Molnupiravir will be manufactured in India by 13 businesses for limited usage in an emergency case for the treatment of adult COVID-19 patients, according to Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

Aurobindo Pharma (ARBN.NS), Cipla (CIPL.NS), Sun Pharmaceuticals (SUN.NS), and others inked non-exclusive voluntary license agreements with Merck earlier this year to manufacture and supply molnupiravir in India.

Molnupiravir was granted an EUA by the US Food and Drug Administration this week for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus illness in adults.

According to media reports earlier in the day, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization’s topic expert group recommended authorizing EUA for molnupiravir, Covovax, and Corbevax.

India is aiming to increase oxygen supply and boost health infrastructure in order to prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron form.

So far, the government has provided 1.43 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, with more than 839 million individuals receiving at least one dose.

India intends to begin delivering COVID-19 booster doses to healthcare and frontline workers as a preventive step on January 10, and to begin vaccination individuals aged 15 to 18 on January 3.

Medical experts have said that India needs to ramp up its vaccine campaign, and some states have imposed night curfews and other restrictions as a precaution in the run-up to the New Year’s celebrations to avoid a spike in infections and a repeat of the summer of 2021, when a devastating second wave of infections killed tens of thousands.

  • Reuters