Merck’s newly announced pill to treat Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) based on the molnupiravir compound has the downside of serious mutagenic risks in mammalian cells, according to researchers. In response, the pharmaceutical giant has disputed the study and its methodology, resulting in an unclear situation for consumers.
Molnupiravir had demonstrated a 50 percent success rate in preventing hospitalization and death over the placebo group in a clinical trial, said an announcement from the company on Oct. 1, causing shockwaves in the price of various pharmaceutical stocks.
The press release stated the trial was truncated halfway through at the advice of the Food and Drug Administration and that Merck would seek Emergency Use Authorization as soon as possible.
The celebration has not been without its controversy. Only a few days later, news that the now-resigned Francis Collin’s NIH and Anthony Fauci’s NIAID had funded development of the compound at Emory University to the tune of $35 million since 2013 emerged in conjunction with analysis from a Harvard researcher that Merck had resold the product to taxpayers for $1.19 billion USD at a 3,500 percent markup over production costs.
At the same time, Barron’s reported on Oct. 5, updating the article on Oct. 8, that molnupiravir’s efficacy was not all roses, as it had shown to be mutagenic in mammalian cells, “Molnupiravir works by incorporating itself into the genetic material of the virus, and then causing a huge number of mutations as the virus replicates, effectively killing it,” reads the article.
“In some lab tests, the drug has also shown the ability to integrate into the genetic material of mammalian cells, causing mutations as those cells replicate.”…