6 votes

Weekly coronavirus-related chat, questions, and minor updates - week of November 8

This thread is posted weekly, and is intended as a place for more-casual discussion of the coronavirus and questions/updates that may not warrant their own dedicated topics. Tell us about what the situation is like where you live!


  1. [2]
    What to know about the covid-19 treatment molnupiravir [...]

    What to know about the covid-19 treatment molnupiravir

    Molnupiravir is an antiviral pill by pharmaceutical giant Merck that aims to prevent mild to moderate cases of covid-19 from becoming severe cases that result in hospitalization or death. People who have covid-19 take the drug twice a day for five days, starting within five days of the onset of symptoms.

    It was shown in an international clinical trial of 775 high-risk, unvaccinated people to cut the risk of hospitalization and death in half (the participants had at least one risk factor for severe covid-19, such as obesity or advanced age). The treatment was also shown in a separate trial to accelerate the clearance of infectious virus from the nose and throat, indicating that it may also help reduce the spread of the virus.


    An FDA advisory committee will meet Nov. 30 to discuss the emergency use authorization request, setting a timeline that could have the drug available by the end of the year.

    5 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      Britain authorizes Merck’s molnupiravir, the world’s first approval of oral covid-19 treatment pill [...] [...] [...]

      Britain authorizes Merck’s molnupiravir, the world’s first approval of oral covid-19 treatment pill

      Regulators in Britain granted approval to the experimental drug molnupiravir from U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck on Thursday, marking the first authorization from a public health body for an oral antiviral treatment for covid-19 in adults.

      Experts have said that if widely authorized, the medicine could have huge potential to help fight the coronavirus pandemic: Pills are easier to take, manufacture and store, making them particularly useful in lower- to middle-income countries with weaker infrastructure and limited vaccine supplies.


      The U.K. medicines regulator approved the use of the treatment in people who are above 60 years old or have at least one other factor that puts them at risk of covid-19 developing into severe illness, such as obesity and heart disease. The agency found it “safe and effective” at curbing the risk after “a rigorous review.”


      The United States has made an advance purchase of 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir at a cost of about $1.2 billion, or roughly $700 per treatment course. Other countries have also reached agreements with Merck to buy the pills, including Australia, Singapore and South Korea.


      The firm has also agreed to share its license for the pill with several Indian manufacturers and with the Medicines Patent Pool, a U.N.-backed nonprofit organization, to allow production around the world and help boost access to more than 100 low- and middle-income countries. The move stood out in a pandemic that has seen pharmaceutical companies lobbying to keep rights to vaccines. More than 50 pharmaceutical companies from around the world have inquired about the molnupiravir license agreement, the Medicines Patent Pool said Thursday.

      5 votes
  2. skybrian
    COVID cases hit record high in Germany […] […]

    COVID cases hit record high in Germany

    The country has seen 201.1 new cases per 100,000 residents over the last week; the previous high was 197.6 in December last year.


    Germany has struggled to find ways to boost its much-slowed vaccination campaign. At least 67% of the country's 83 million population is fully vaccinated, according to official figures.


    Free rapid tests for all were scrapped nearly a month ago in an effort to incentivise more people to get vaccinated. There are now widespread calls for them to be reintroduced. And officials now advocate booster vaccinations for everyone who got their initial shots six months ago or more.

    4 votes
  3. skybrian
    What is fluvoxamine, the antidepressant drug that shows promise in treating covid-19? [...] [...]

    What is fluvoxamine, the antidepressant drug that shows promise in treating covid-19?

    A common antidepressant medication often used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder may join a growing arsenal of covid-19 treatments after it showed promise in reducing hospitalizations and deaths from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

    Because it has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for mental health treatment, doctors can begin to prescribe it under certain parameters. The relatively modest cost means it could be highly beneficial in parts of the world with low vaccination rates and few resources.


    The study, published Wednesday in the Lancet journal, found that giving high-risk covid-19 patients fluvoxamine — 100 mg twice daily for 10 days — early in their treatment reduced the need for hospitalization.

    The clinical trial took place from January to August and included roughly 1,500 people at 11 sites in Brazil. The participants were adults who were symptomatic with covid-19 and at heightened risk of severe illness because of other health problems. Their average age was 50, almost 60 percent were women, and most self-identified as mixed race.

    About half of the participants received fluvoxamine, while the other half got a placebo. They took their pills for 10 days at home, and scientists tracked them for four weeks.

    In the group that took fluvoxamine, 11 percent needed hospitalization or an extended emergency room stay, compared with 16 percent of those who got the placebo.

    “For every 20 people in this population you treated, you’d cause benefit for one person, basically,” said David Boulware, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota who worked on a smaller study of the drug. “That’s a pretty darn good number, particularly for outpatient settings for early covid.”


    The researchers said questions remain about fluvoxamine’s tolerability, as several participants receiving the drug stopped taking it because of side effects. Two ongoing trials — one funded by the National Institutes of Health and another at the University of Minnesota — are examining the use of a lower dose in covid-19 patients.

    4 votes
  4. skybrian
    I couldn't find a reputable source in English and can't judge the Greek reports, but I'll pass this on for your amusement. (It seems too much like an urban legend to be believed?) Anti-vaxxers...

    I couldn't find a reputable source in English and can't judge the Greek reports, but I'll pass this on for your amusement. (It seems too much like an urban legend to be believed?)

    Anti-vaxxers bribe doctors for “vaccination” with water, end up with the real vaccine

    Mass fake vaccinations have been taking place in dozens of vaccination centers throughout Greece, media reported on Sunday. The bribe fee for doctors and nurses is apparently 400 euros. the fee is paid is by those who do not want to receive the vaccines against Covid-19 but want to gain access to several activities or simply avoid the twice per week Rapid tests for professional and other reasons.

    But then a hilarious thing happened: Doctors pocketed the bribe but administered real vaccine and not “water” in order to avoid getting into trouble should the fake vaccination come out, according to a report by Mega TV.

    4 votes
  5. skybrian
    California, Colorado and New Mexico Expand Virus Booster Access […] […]

    California, Colorado and New Mexico Expand Virus Booster Access

    President Joe Biden’s administration had sought approval for boosters for all adults, but U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers in September decided it isn’t clear that young healthy people need another dose. They instead recommended boosters only for those over 65 and younger people with certain underlying health conditions or whose jobs are high risk for the virus.

    In California, state Public Health Officer Tomás Aragón sent a letter to local health officials and providers saying they should “allow patients to self-determine their risk of exposure."

    “Do not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster” if they are age 18 and up and it has been six months since they had their second Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or two months since their single Johnson & Johnson shot, he wrote.


    In Colorado, where some hospitals are stretched to the breaking point, Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on Thursday to expand use of booster shots. A day later he had a dire warning for the roughly 20% of eligible people in his state who have yet to get a single dose.


    Officials in Colorado, California and New Mexico said they have ample supplies of vaccines to provide initial vaccinations and boosters to all who want them.

    4 votes