Merck & Co Inc (NYSE:MRK) has released new data on its COVID antiviral tablet that suggests it is not as effective as originally hoped.
Research from its MOVe-OUT study of the drug, named Molnupiravir, found that it only reduced the risk by roughly 30% in adults at high risk for disease progression.
Some 1433 people took part in the trial, with 699 given a placebo and 709 the medication.
Of those who took the placebo 9.7% became seriously ill, while the percentage was at 6.8% for those given the medication, representing a relative risk reduction 30%.
Previously, the company had reported a relative risk reduction of 48%.
Merck, which is partnered with Ridgeback Therapeutics on the drug, was upbeat nonetheless and said it was confident that the outcomes “support the efficacy and overall favourable benefit-risk assessment of Molnupiravir for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults.”
Merck confirmed that it has provided this analysis to the Food and Drug Administration with a review set to take place by the committee next Tuesday.
The drug has already been approved in the UK, with Britain agreeing a deal to secure 480,000 courses last month.
Merck shares fell by 4.28%.