June 7, 2021 ~ TrialSite News
Merck Tests Molnupiravir, an Investigational Product, at the Lung Center of the Philippines While Large Ivermectin Trial Runs in Parallel
While the Philippines recently announced a large national ivermectin trial targeting early-onset COVID-19, another commercial study seeks to accelerate sufficient safety and efficacy data in that Southeast Asian nation as well, as Merck recently kicked off a Phase 3 trial there testing the oral antiviral drug Molnupiravir, led by the Lung Center of the Philippines. Although Merck developed a version of ivermectin that’s been used to safely quell parasitic-born illness in many tropical areas for four decades, the company went on the offensive against its own product’s use as a therapy for the COVID-19 indication. So now the American pharmaceutical company is in a race against time and its own generic product to carve out market share as what has been a great American pharmaceutical company and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP came together to commercialize the drug initially discovered at Emory University. They compete potentially against Roche and Pfizer but also other drug companies developing oral antiviral treatments for COVID, such as ivermectin. According to local media, the Lung Center of the Philippines seeks participants for the study as it has only thus far enrolled a couple patients that have volunteered to take the drug twice a day for a minimum of five days. Meanwhile, the Philippines kicked off a major ivermectin trial targeting wide use for the vast majority of COVID-19 cases—those early-onset with mild to moderate symptoms.