Merck and Ridgeback’s Molnupiravir Demonstrated Activity Against Omicron Variant in In-Vitro Studies

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Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, on Friday, announced that the data from six preclinical studies demonstrated that molnupiravir was active against the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron (B1.1.529) in vitro.

“These findings from multiple independent in vitro studies showing that molnupiravir has consistent antiviral activity against Omicron, the primary variant circulating globally, provide additional confidence in the potential of molnupiravir as an important treatment option for certain adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk for progressing to severe disease.”

Dr. Dean Y. Li, president, Merck Research Laboratories

The in vitro studies were independently conducted by researchers from institutions in six countries including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and the United States. 

Dr. Dean added, ‘We are grateful to these investigators for these important insights, and to our own colleagues who are working with global regulatory authorities to ensure that molnupiravir is widely accessible to appropriate patients.’

Researchers used established cell-based assays to assess the antiviral activity of molnupiravir and other COVID-19 antiviral agents against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including Omicron. The drug has yet to be studied against Omicron in clinical studies. 

“Based on its mechanism of action, along with these new findings demonstrating in vitro activity across multiple variants, including Omicron, we anticipate that molnupiravir will continue to be active against variants of concern and an important tool in the fight against COVID-19.”

Wendy Holman, chief executive officer, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics

‘We are grateful for the efforts of the investigators and look forward to continuing our work to help address the pandemic.’ added Wendy. Merck is developing molnupiravir in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and it has been authorized for use in more than 10 countries.

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