March 23, 2023

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Study: Merck’s drug may be linked to new coronavirus mutations – what is the company responding to?

Her pills merck Because Covid-19 causes new mutations in the Corona virus in some patients, according to a study that highlights the dangers of a deliberate attempt to change the genetic code of pathogens.

Some researchers worry about that drugs It could create more infectious or health-threatening variants of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 6.8 million people worldwide in the past three years.

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Mutations linked to the use of Merck’s Lagevrio pill have been identified in virus samples taken from dozens of patients, according to a draft study by researchers in the US and at the Francis Crick Institute, Imperial College London and other UK institutions Basilio.

Study: New mutations are no more aggressive or deadly than Merck’s pills

mutations of the virus associated with the pill has not yet been shown to be more aggressive to the immune system or fatal, according to the study, published Friday on medRxiv. But its existence highlights, according to some scientists, potential risks in the broader use of the drug, which was recently approved in China.

Lagevrio works by creating mutations in the genome from corona virus, This prevents the virus from multiplying in the body, thus reducing the chances of causing serious illness.

Some scientists had warned as early as 2021, before it was approved, that because of the way it works, the drug could cause mutations that could be problematic.

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This new study, then, reawakens those concerns about Merck’s drug.

Merck replied

However, the company disputes the view that its drugs cause problematic variants.

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“There is no evidence to suggest that any antiviral agent contributed to the emergence of circulating variants,” Merck spokesman Robert Josephson said in response to questions from Bloomberg about the study. “Based on the available data, we do not believe that Lagevrio (molnupiravir) is likely to contribute to the development of new important coronavirus variants.”

He also pointed to the emergence of new mutations during the pandemic due to the uncontrolled spread of the virus, and Lagevrio may be an important part of the solution. Merck pointed to animal research that showed its drug was non-mutagenic.

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For its part, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approved Lagevrio in late 2021, said it does not comment on third-party research and is working with companies that make drugs for Covid-19 to assess the relationship between their products. with coronavirus variants.

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