Covid-19: Wonder drugs become another weapon in ongoing battle against the virus

Recent tests by Merck of an antiviral pill that appears to cut hospitalisation risk by 50 per cent sent the company’s shares soaring. Other companies, including Dublin-based AiPharma, are also in the race to develop antiviral medications

Merck & Co’s antivital Covid-19 pill, which it says reduces hospitalisations and deaths by half in patients with the coronavirus. Picture: AP

This time last year, the race to produce a vaccine for Covid-19 was in full flow, with pharmaceutical companies competing to provide a “magic bullet” solution to the pandemic.

But away from the dazzling feats of science that ultimately proved successful, a quieter, but nonetheless important effort was taking place and is still ongoing: the quest to find an effective treatment for Covid-19.

They have varied from antibody infusions to off-label steroids, forays into horse ...