How Does Merck’s Covid-19 Tablet Stack Up Against Pfizer’s?

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How Does Merck's Covid-19 Tablet Stack Up Against Pfizer's

Pfizer and Merck have produced antiviral tablets that have shown promise in trials of adults with Covid-19 who are at high risk of serious disease. The differences between the two tablets are explained below.

How Does Merck’s Covid-19 Tablet Stack Up Against Pfizer’s?

In trials of adults with COVID-19 who are at high risk of serious disease, Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc created new antiviral medicines that showed promising efficacy. Both medications are also being researched to determine if they can protect people who have been exposed to the virus from becoming infected.

How Does Merck's Covid-19 Tablet Stack Up Against Pfizer's

The differences between the two tablets are explained below.

Which of the new medications is more effective?

Pfizer announced on Friday that its pill lowered the likelihood of hospitalization or death in COVID-19 patients at risk for severe illness by 89 percent when given within three days of the beginning of symptoms, and by 85 percent when given within five days of onset.

 Merck announced on Oct. 1 that its pill reduced the likelihood of hospitalization or death in people at risk for severe disease who received treatment within five days of onset by roughly half. It did not disclose data on how many patients received the medication within three days of the commencement of symptoms.

Paxlovid is the brand name of Pfizer’s medication. In the United Kingdom, where it has received regulatory approval, Merck’s medicine is known as Lavgevrio.

What is the significance of these drugs?

While a variety of vaccinations, including one developed by Pfizer, are available worldwide to prevent infection, persons infected with COVID-19 have few therapeutic choices.

COVID-19 patients who are not sick enough to be admitted to a hospital, but are in danger of serious sickness can now be treated with antibody medicines, which must be administered intravenously in hospitals or infusion centers.

How do they function?

Both medications are administered for a five-day period. Three pills in the morning and night are Pfizer’s dosage. Merck’s medication is taken in two doses: four in the morning and four at night.

Pfizer’s medicine is a protease inhibitor, which works by blocking an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate. The pathogen cannot become resistant to the treatment, according to Pfizer, because the medicine targets a component of the virus that is required for replication.

Pfizer’s medicine is used in conjunction with ritonavir, an earlier antiviral that increases the action of protease inhibitors, but has gastrointestinal side effects and can interact with other treatments. Merck’s pill is a nucleoside analog with a mechanism of action that tries to create faults in the virus’s genetic coding. It is difficult for the coronavirus to evolve and become resistant because the treatment causes random changes in the virus.

What do we know about the subject of safety?

Both businesses have only published limited information about the medicines, but they have voiced confidence in their safety.

According to Pfizer, roughly 20% of patients who took either the tablet or placebo reported adverse events, most of which were minor. Serious adverse effects were reported by 1.7 percent of those who took the medicine and 6.6 percent of those who took the placebo.

Medication-related adverse events occurred in 13% of patients getting Merck’s drug and 11% of placebo patients, according to Merck. In animal tests, drugs in the same class as Merck’s tablet have been related to birth abnormalities. Similar tests of Merck’s medicine – conducted for longer periods of time and at larger doses than those used in humans – have shown that it does not cause birth abnormalities or cancer.

We don’t know anything about supply.

Pfizer and Merck have both stated that they are working to increase global access to drugs. Pfizer estimates that it will produce more than 180,000 courses of its medication by the end of this year, with at least 50 million scheduled for 2022.

Merck has stated that it aims to produce 10 million courses of its medicine by the end of this year, with a minimum of 20 million in 2022.

Which is more expensive?

The US government offers free COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments to US citizens. Pfizer and Merck are discussing rates with countries all around the world.

The US government has obtained millions of doses of Pfizer’s therapy, according to President Joe Biden.

Merck has a $1.2 billion contract to supply 1.7 million courses of its medicine to the United States, which works out to around $700 for each course. The United Kingdom has obtained 250,000 courses of Pfizer’s medicine, although the prices for the British contracts have not been disclosed.

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