Merck's COVID-19 pill to arrive in Israel within two weeks

Molnupiravir received Emergency Use Authorization on Thursday evening in Israel. It is used to treat mild to moderate coronavirus in adults.

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters on October 26, 2021. (photo credit: MERCK & CO INC/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters on October 26, 2021.
(photo credit: MERCK & CO INC/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Israel is expected to receive doses of Merck’s molnupiravir oral antiviral drug within the next two weeks, The Jerusalem Post has confirmed. 

Merck is known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada. The Health Ministry had signed an agreement with MSD in advance to receive the drug that was conditional on its getting approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Molnupiravir received Emergency Use Authorization on Thursday evening in Israel. 

The drug is used to treat mild to moderate coronavirus in adults over 18 who are at high risk of developing severe COVID. The recommendation is to administer the drug as soon as possible after a diagnosis and within five days of symptom onset. 

Britain already ordered 2.5 million doses of molnupiravir and the United States five million. Israel will receive thousands of doses.

 The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Rahway, New Jersey, US, July 12, 2018.  (credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID) The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Rahway, New Jersey, US, July 12, 2018. (credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)

Israel is also expected to receive tens of thousands of doses of Pfizer’s antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, which likewise was emergency approved by the FDA earlier this week. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in early November at a cabinet meeting that Israel had arranged with the pharmaceutical giant to purchase the doses.

“If the drug is approved for use it will be another significant tool in managing the pandemic, together with vaccines for everyone and accessible tests for everyone, all the time,” the prime minister said.