Merck, Ridgeback says COVID-19 pill molnupiravir shows antiviral activity against omicron variant

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Merck & Co. Inc. MRK, +0.40% and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said Friday that data from six preclinical studies of its molnupiravir COVID-19 pill showed “consisent antiviral activity” against the omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The preclinical studies were conducted independently in Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and the U.S. Molnupiravir is currently authorized for use in 10 countries, including the U.S., the U.K. and Japan. “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,” said Ridgeback Chief Executive Wendy Holman. Merck’s stock, which slipped 0.4% in premarket trading, has dropped 6.9% over the past three months while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.65% has lost 4.4%.

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