Home Adult site US coronavirus: Merck says pill to treat Covid-19 halves risk of death

US coronavirus: Merck says pill to treat Covid-19 halves risk of death


It would become the first oral drug that fights viral infection for Covid-19 if approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization.

“In the interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%,” Merck said in a press release. “7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were hospitalized or died up to day 29 after randomization (28/385), compared to 14.1% of patients treated with placebo (53,377). Up to day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, compared with 8 deaths in patients who received placebo. “

Molnupiravir is not a vaccine. It is an oral antiviral, and experts have said that the development of such a drug could be the next chance to thwart Covid-19. A short-term regimen of daily pills is said to be aimed at fighting off the virus soon after diagnosis and preventing symptoms from developing after exposure.
An antiviral drug has been approved to treat Covid. Remdesivir is administered intravenously to hospital patients. It is not intended for early and widespread use.

Some states are seeing an increase in vaccinations

Meanwhile, more states and health systems are moving towards mandatory vaccinations for some workers. Officials hope the job incentive will remove hesitation over Covid-19 vaccines – while a governor draws up contingency plans.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has asked the National Guard to prepare for a staffing shortage when a warrant and testing requirement goes into effect late Monday. Government employees must provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly tests; those who do not will be placed on unpaid leave.

As of Thursday, more than 63% – 20,000 employees – were fully immunized, while 12% of employees began weekly tests, Lamont said. More than 8,000 non-compliant employees remain, but some 2,000 have updated their status in the past two days.

“We have provided most state employees with the option to get tested weekly instead of getting vaccinated, providing more flexibility than our neighboring states. We have also provided our employees with a compliance grace period. There is no reason why all of our employees should not be in compliance, ”said Lamont.

Connecticut is one of many states facing a setback in mandatory vaccination requirements for essential workers. Health experts say there is a need to protect people at higher risk of Covid-19. But he met resistance from a minority wishing to remain unvaccinated and in his current roles.

In Rhode Island, the Department of Health announced in August that “all employees, interns and volunteers of RIDOH-approved health facilities” would be required to receive their first dose of vaccine by Friday.

Care New England, one of the state’s largest hospital systems, reported Thursday that more than 95% of its healthcare workers have been vaccinated. Staff vaccination “continues to increase day by day,” said CEO James E. Fanale.

Mandates increase immunization rates, but not without compromise
The deadline has passed in other states. California’s 2 million healthcare workers were to be vaccinated by Thursday or risk losing their jobs, with exemptions available for religious beliefs or for qualifying medical reasons.
In New York, none of the health facilities have closed due to vaccination warrants for workers, Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday. Earlier this week, it was reported that 92% of nursing home staff, 89% of adult care facility staff and 92% of hospital staff received at least one dose statewide.

“You will see that number increase rapidly, because what we are seeing, you know, as more and more people are put on leave or suspended, that number is going to increase,” Hochul said.

About 30 healthcare workers are demonstrating this week against state-mandated Covid-19 vaccinations outside St. Catherine's Hospital in Siena in Smithtown, New York.

Vaccines for young children to be available soon, but survey finds reluctance persists

The resumption of in-person learning in schools has already been complicated by the Covid-19 epidemics and the quarantine of exposed students and staff.

Yet despite evidence that vaccinations reduce infections and severity among eligible age groups, some parents are still hesitant to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11, according to a survey.

School board group calls for federal help to end threats and violence in debates over Covid and critical race theory
A third of parents of children aged 5 to 11 say they will vaccinate their child as soon as possible, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation vaccine monitor Thursday. A similar percentage, 32%, say they will wait to see how the vaccine works, and 24% say they definitely won’t get their children vaccinated.

Most of the interviews, conducted September 13-22 with a sample of more than 1,500 adults, took place before Pfizer announced that clinical trials showed their Covid-19 vaccine to be safe and generated a immune response in this age group.

The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is approved for persons 16 years of age and older and has emergency use authorization for persons 12 to 15 years of age.

Among those already eligible for vaccines, the latest data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 200 million American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Almost 67% of American adults are fully immunized.

Death rates in non-metropolitan areas higher, study finds

Researchers are examining the effects of the pandemic on different parts of the country.

Deaths from Covid-19 in non-metropolitan areas occur at more than twice the rate in metropolitan areas, according to an analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University of the Center for Health Policy Analysis at the University of the Iowa.

Some US governors say Covid hospitalizations are down but warn of what could happen if more people don't get vaccinated

In the two weeks ending September 15, non-metropolitan areas recorded an average of 0.85 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 residents. Metropolitan areas had an average of 0.41.

Deaths in non-metropolitan areas have consistently exceeded those in metropolitan areas since the study began in April 2020. The September 15 figures are the fourth time the non-metro death rate has been at least double that of the metro. The rate outside the metro had not doubled the metro since December 1.

CNN’s Ben Tinker, Jay Croft, Virginia Langmaid, Naomi Thomas, Melanie Schuman, Augie Martin, Rosalina Nieves, Lauren Mascarenhas, Elizabeth Joseph, Melissa Alonso and Jamie Gumbrecht contributed to this report.