How MSD is responding to the global pandemic COVID-19

Added: 3rd August 2020 by MSD

COVID-19 is an extraordinary challenge to the global community. In the face of this unprecedented challenge, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation to all those who are going above and beyond to do their part in helping affected patients and communities, especially the NHS, healthcare workers and volunteers who are on the front-line of this fight.

As a company dedicated to saving and improving lives, MSD recognises that we have a special responsibility to help. MSD remains focused on protecting the safety of its employees and their families, assuring the supply and manufacture of medicines and vaccines for our patients and populations, contributing our scientific expertise to the development of antiviral approaches, and supporting our healthcare providers and the communities in which they serve.

Thanks to our teams and colleagues, our manufacturing plants and clinical supply sites remain open around the world and we are taking steps to make sure that continues to be the case.

Does MSD have medicines or vaccines for COVID-19? If not, is MSD developng any medicines and vaccines to help combat COVID-19?  

Does MSD have medicines or vaccines for COVID-19? If not, is MSD developng any medicines and vaccines to help combat COVID-19?  

On May 26, MSD announced three significant scientific initiatives to combat COVID–19. These include two agreements to develop potential vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, and a research collaboration to advance the development of a novel antiviral candidate, detailed below:

  • MSD to acquire Themis Bioscience, a company focused on vaccines and immune-modulation therapies for infectious diseases, including COVID-19;
  • MSD and IAVI collaborate to develop vaccine against COVID-19;
  • MSD and Ridgeback Bio collaborate to advance development of an oral antiviral candidate for COVID-19, EIDD-2801.

Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, MSD (tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (NYSE: MRK)), said: “Though the challenge of this pandemic is immense, we know that science and collaboration will triumph, just as they have before. While we cannot predict when this battle will be won, we are confident that science is on our side, that collaboration is already well underway, and that together, we will prevail.”

In addition to this, MSD makes a range of medicines and vaccines for infectious diseases, but none of them are approved for use to treat COVID-19. We have enormous experience in inventing antivirals and vaccines and like many other pharmaceutical companies, are actively engaged in scientific efforts to help find solutions to coronavirus disease. This pandemic underscores the need for our company and our industry to continue to invest in research for the greatest health threats.

As part of this, MSD is studying potential antiviral therapies that could be deployed more rapidly, in addition to evaluating compounds in our own laboratories.

To support this focus, globally MSD is studying potential antiviral therapies that could be deployed more rapidly, in addition to evaluating compounds in our own laboratories.

We have also identified programmes in other laboratories that could prove beneficial, and have announced that we are participating in a new research collaboration with the Institute for Systems Biology in the US, to investigate and define the molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19, and identify targets for medicines and vaccines.

Additionally, we have also announced we are in collaboration with the NIH-led Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV consortium). ACTIV is a partnership that aims to develop a collaborative framework for prioritising vaccine and drug candidates, streamlining clinical trials and regulatory processes, and/or leveraging assets among all partners, to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 and future pandemics.

How is COVID-19 impacting MSD clinical trials?  

How is COVID-19 impacting MSD clinical trials?  

Driven by our steadfast commitment to patients, we are making every effort to ensure that patients in affected areas who are enrolled in clinical trials can continue their treatment and receive appropriate care and monitoring.

Conditions are fluid and evolving but as local conditions allow, we are enrolling patients in ongoing studies, and we are starting new studies.

How is MSD protecting employees and health care providers?  

How is MSD protecting employees and health care providers?  

We continue to make decisions that are aligned with UK Government and NHS recommendations and in the best interests of our employees, patients and customers. Our colleagues who can work from home are working from home and we have paused in-person interactions with health care providers.

We are also asking all employees to follow global health recommendations on hand-washing and social distancing. And, if any of our employees are experiencing symptoms of fever, shortness of breath or a change in taste or smell during this outbreak, we have asked them to stay at home. Where we have key workers and employees working on-site, we have taken feedback from employees and conducted full risk assessments in line with UK Government guidance and MSD own global policies and procedures.