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Merck’s new anti-COVID drug will be manufactured in the GTA

Merck’s new anti-COVID drug will be manufactured in the GTA

 Canada will be the site for the worldwide manufacture of the experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir, developed by Merck.

The pharma giant  announced Monday it plans to manufacture its oral antiviral COVID-19 drug in Canada, making the country a global hub for the production of the potentially game-changing treatment.

The drug company has already spent  $19 million to scale up production of the antiviral drug, at a  facility in Whitby.

This represents one of the first treatments for non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients and — and is currently pending Health Canada approval.  Meanwhile the company is producing millions of doses on speculation that approval will be given.

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s facility in Whitby, where the Merck drug will be manufactured

In its preliminary clinical trial results, Merck reported that its pill reduced the rate of hospitalization by 30 per cent, compared to those who got a placebo pill. That was among patients who started taking the medication within five days of symptoms beginning.

Last week, Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi announced Canada had signed a deal to purchase 500,000 courses of the oral antiviral drug, with the option to purchase another 500,000, if Health Canada gives it the green light. The US Federal Drug Administration has voted to allow emergency use of the drug as has the UK.

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