France is banking on the anti-Covid tablet to swallow.
While the European health authorities are still examining this treatment developed by the American laboratory Merck, Olivier Véran announced Tuesday that "50,000 doses of this drug will be delivered to France from the last days of November or the first days of December, c 'that is to say as soon as the treatments leave the production lines ”.
According to the French Minister of Health, this drug could be a game-changer in the fight against the epidemic: it has the major advantage of being taken in oral form and could therefore be used much easier than intravenous treatments such as, for example, those based on synthetic antibodies.
"Imagine that we had (at the start of the health crisis) an antiviral treatment which reduced the number of serious cases by 50%, imagine the health impact in our country at the heart of the first and second waves, we would have had much fewer deaths and much fewer serious cases, ”he said.
The risk of hospitalization halved
Merck, called MSD outside of North America to distinguish it from a German namesake, reported very encouraging results for this antiviral in early October.
According to the American laboratory, which has carried out tests on nearly 800 patients but has yet to make the details public, molnupiravir halves the risk of hospitalization when it is given to patients who have just been tested positive for Covid -19.
The group has requested authorization for the treatment from both American and European health authorities, the latter having announced on Monday that they were starting an accelerated procedure.
700 dollars a dose
Olivier Véran however recalled that this treatment could not constitute the only response to the epidemic, insisting on the importance of vaccination against Covid-19.
The cost of treatment will be high a priori.
The minister did not specify the amount of the order, but by way of example, the United States ordered 1.7 million doses for $ 1.2 billion this year, or about $ 700 for each.
"Vaccination, more antiviral treatment, more monoclonal antibodies, equal much less health impact", he insisted.
This set “would also protect us (…) in the event of an epidemic wave linked to a new variant of which we still do not know the damage it could cause”, he concluded.
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