Intended for healthcare professionals


Seven days in medicine: 24-30 November 2021

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 02 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2946


Merck pill is less effective than previously stated

The drug company Merck & Co said that updated data from its study on its experimental covid-19 pill molnupiravir showed that it was less effective in cutting hospital admissions and deaths than it had previously reported.1 The pill resulted in a 30% fall in admissions and deaths, showed data from more than 1400 patients, compared with roughly 50% efficacy in October based on data from 775 patients. Merck has submitted the data on the drug, which was developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, to the US Food and Drug Administration ahead of a meeting of its expert advisers next week.

EMA recommends Comirnaty vaccine for children

The European Medicines Agency’s human medicines committee recommended granting an extension of indication for the covid-19 vaccine Comirnaty to include use in children aged 5 to 11. The vaccine, developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, is already approved for use in adults and children aged 12 and above. The committee concluded that the benefits of Comirnaty in children aged 5 to 11 outweighed the risks, particularly in children with conditions that increase the risk of severe covid-19. The committee will now send its recommendation to the European Commission for a final decision.

Vaccine donors “must help Africa plan ahead”

The African Vaccine Acquisition Trust, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, …

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