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Merck plans to manufacture COVID-19 antiviral drug in Canada Social Sharing

Merck Canada 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 invested $19 million to scale up production of its antiviral drug, molnupiravir, at Thermo Fisher Scientific’s facility in Whitby, Ont.

The drug — one of the first treatments for non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients — is currently pending Health Canada approval. The antiviral works by blocking the enzyme essential for viral replication.

In its preliminary clinical trial results, Merck reported that its pill reduced the rate of hospitalization by 50 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.

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