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  • Gavin Elliot

Pills over Shots: A Needle-free Alternative Way

Merck & Co. created an alternative to the Pfizer and Moderna shot--a pill. I think a pill would be a better alternative to a shot, especially for younger children who do not do well with shots. Being needle-free, it would also not cause pain. It is also said to be more affordable for families who are less fortunate than others.

The company announced its pill announcement on Oct. 1. It was first used in the beginning of the 2000s as a preventive pill against SARS and MERS viruses. It is also said to work with the Delta and Alpha variants of Coronavirus in other countries as well. The Molnupiravir pill was tested on 775 adults with COVID-19 and all of them were considered at a high risk of severe disease. The patients of this experiment saw half the rate of hospitalization and death within five days of experiencing symptoms, with minimal side effects. Due to that, Merck said that it will be applying for emergency use with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company also stated that it will apply for its marketing license everywhere in the world.

“Coronavirus disease is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, even it goes endemic,” said Dr. Carl Dieffenbach, Director for the Division of AIDS for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the official running the government’s $3.2 billion COVID-19 antiviral program. “These pills could be the incredibly valuable about keeping the brushfire beaten down,” Dieffenbach said.

It makes sense that pharmaceutical companies are trying to figure out whether antivirals can reduce the risk of someone dying or ending up with organ damage and an expensive hospital stay. They are also evaluating whether these pills can reduce the viral load or how long someone is infectious or sick. It can even prevent people from ending up with COVID-19 for a long period of time. When the Merck pill and other antivirals are authorized or approved, it will be determined how quickly they are prescribed. It remains to be seen if pills will be prescribed after someone is exposed to the virus or once they report symptoms and whether patients will comply with taking multiple pills in a single day. In my opinion I feel like people will start to get sick and tired of swallowing three or more of them a day.

Molnupiravir takes over COVID-19 by not allowing it to replicate in the body, thus preventing the progression from mild and severe disease. The drug basically tricks the immune system into replicating it alongside viral cells, which injects a flaw into the mechanism. This prevents the body from multiplying the viral load. Merck said that it will supply 10 million courses of treatment. Each course consists of taking the pill twice a day for five days. The U.S. government placed an order for 1.7 million treatment courses by June 19.


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