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Australia to buy Merck’s COVID-19 pill as records hit major cities

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In an interim analysis, Merck’s COVID vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50%.

Sydney:

Australia will buy 300,000 courses of Merck & Co’s experimental antiviral pill, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as Victoria reported the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections of any state in the country since the pandemic began. is registered.

According to experts, Molnupiravir, which will be the first oral antiviral drug for COVID-19, if it gets regulatory approval, will make it easier for people at risk of contracting severe COVID-19 to die or Hospitalization may be less likely.

“These treatments mean we’re going to be able to live with the virus,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Nine News on Tuesday as Australia aims for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents across its borders next month. have to reopen.

Morrison said the mollupiravir capsules have to be taken by adult patients 10 times a day for five days.

Morrison said the drug is expected to be available in Australia early next year if approved by the country’s drug regulator. Merck expects to have 10 million courses of treatment ready by the end of 2021.

South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia have said they are in talks to buy potential treatments, while the Philippines is running a trial on the pill.

Meanwhile, Australia is ramping up its vaccination rate, with Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities and capital Canberra facing a weeks-long lockdown to combat the highly contagious Delta variant. The national first dose rate in the adult population remained above 80% on Tuesday morning.

Victoria recorded a total of 1,763 new infections, higher than the previous daily high of 1,488 on Saturday the state is looking to restart after reaching 70% of full immunization levels in its adult population, which is 53 by the end of October. % is expected. Now.

Dominic Perrot, who was elected as the new premier of New South Wales on Tuesday, said the state was on track to exit the lockdown on 11 October, the first Monday he expected to be in more than 16 years. 70% of the population will be fully vaccinated.

Daily infections in the state fell to 608 new cases on Tuesday, the lowest in seven weeks, the majority in the state capital Sydney, down from 623 on Monday. Seven new deaths were recorded.

Even with Delta’s outbreak, Australia still has relatively low coronavirus numbers with around 115,800 cases. The total death toll from the current Delta outbreak was 1,357, with a lower death rate compared to the previous year due to over-vaccination in vulnerable populations.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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