Lagevrio, also know as molnupiravir, the medication for the oral treatment against COVID-19 that was authorized by the FDA in the United States (Food & Drug Administration), could cause new mutations in the virus with the potential for further spread.
This was reported by a study conducted in the United States, in which the UK’s Francis Crick Institute, Imperial College and the University of Liverpool collaborated, the results of which were published last week ahead of peer review.
The pill, developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, had gained FDA approval in December 2021 for at-risk adults who have tested positive for COVID-19.
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In an analysis of more than 13 million viral genomes in global databases, the researchers noted that Lagevrio-linked mutations were proportionally more common in countries and age groups where the drug is widely used, such as Australia, the US, and the United States. and the UK.
In countries like Canada and France, where it is not authorized, they indicated a low number of mutations. According to the specialists, Lagevrio-induced mutations were found in small groups of patients, indicating a greater spread of new versions.
While the largest group with similar mutations was made up of 21 individuals, this did not reflect the severity of the problem, said Ryan Hisner, a US-based scientist who was part of the study. “These effects are visible in these databases,” he told Bloomberg
Francis Crick Institute principal investigator Theo Sanderson told the same outlet: “It appears that people are being treated, some of them are not clearing their infections and others are passing them on.”
Merck assures that “there is no evidence” that the antiviral has generated mutations
In the face of this, Merck denied that molnupiravir – which it expects to add to $5.2 billion to $5.4 billion in sales – can cause mutations.
Spokesman Robert Josephson, who pointed out that the virus has mutated during the pandemic due to its spread, said that “there is no evidence to indicate that any antiviral agent contributed to the emergence of circulating variants.”
Lagevrio, he said instead, can form a key component for solving the effects of the virus in the body
ag / ds
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