• Friday, Dec 02, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Australia to buy Merck's Covid-19 pill, Victoria cases hit record

  • Published at 05:13 am October 5th, 2021
An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc
File Photo: An experimental Covid-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters May 17, 2021. Reuters

South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia are also in talks to buy the potential treatment

Australia will buy 300,000 courses of Merck & Co's experimental antiviral pill, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as Victoria logged the highest number of daily Covid-19 infections of any state in the country since the pandemic began.

Molnupiravir, which would be the first oral antiviral medication for Covid-19 if it gets regulatory approval, could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for people most at risk of contracting severe Covid-19, according to experts.

"These treatments mean that we are going to be able to live with the virus," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Nine News on Tuesday as Australia aims to reopen its borders next month for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents.

Molnupiravir capsules have to be taken twice a day for five days by adult patients for a course of 10, Morrison said.

The drug is expected to be available in Australia by early next year if approved by the country's drug regulator, Morrison said. Merck expects to produce 10 million courses of the treatment by the end of 2021.

South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia have all said they are in talks to buy the potential treatment, while the Philippines is running a trial on the pill.

Also Read - Merck pill considered 'huge advance', may halve Covid deaths

Australia, meanwhile, is stepping up its vaccination rate, with Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities, and the capital Canberra enduring a weeks-long lockdown to combat the highly infectious Delta variant. The national first-dose rate in the adult population topped 80% on Tuesday morning.

A total of 1,763 new infections were reported in Victoria, exceeding the previous daily high of 1,488 on Saturday, with the state looking to start reopening once full vaccination levels in its adult population reaches 70%, expected around the end of October, from 53% now.

Dominic Perrottet, who was elected as the new premier of New South Wales on Tuesday, said the state was on track to exit lockdown on Oct. 11, the first Monday after it expects 70% of its population over 16 to be fully vaccinated.

Daily infections in the state fell to the lowest in seven weeks on Tuesday at 608 new cases, the majority in state capital Sydney, down from 623 on Monday. Seven new deaths were recorded.

Even with the Delta outbreaks, Australia still has relatively low coronavirus numbers, with around 115,800 cases. Total deaths stood at 1,357, with the mortality rate from the current Delta outbreak lower than during last year due to higher inoculation among the vulnerable population.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail