A popular antiviral drug developed by a major World Economic Forum-linked pharmaceutical company to treat Covid has been found to mutate the virus and cause it to spread rapidly, a new study has revealed.
The drug, Molnupiravir, is produced by German Big Pharma giant Merck in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
On Monday, the Express reported that the researchers behind the new study examined a staggering 15 million Covid sequences to determine how it has mutated over time.
Their findings have caused major cause for concern.
The analysis shows that there were mutations that deviated from the normal pattern of change.
Moreover, the researchers uncovered a disturbing pattern that indicates the cause of these abnormal changes.
They are now raising the alarm after discovering one-third of the mutations were directly linked to individuals who had taken Merck’s Molnupiravir antiviral drug.
Molnupiravir was one of the first antiviral drugs placed on the market to combat Covid.
The popular drug is used by patients in several countries around the world, including the United States.
The Express notes that Molnupiravir is supposed to induce mutations in COVID-19’s genome during replication.
Some of these mutations can damage or kill the virus, reducing its viral load.
However, the international team discovered that Molnupiravir is also causing enduring mutations in many cases.
These enduring mutations are enhancing the genetic diversity of Covid, the researchers warn.
The team displayed small clusters of these mutations, which can be being transmitted between patients.
Dr. Christopher Ruis, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge, England who co-authored the paper, explains:
“Molnupiravir is one of a number of drugs being used to fight COVID-19.
“It belongs to a class of drugs that can cause the virus to mutate so much that it is fatally weakened.
“But what we’ve found is that in some patients, this process doesn’t kill all the viruses, and some mutated viruses can spread.”
Dr. Theo Sanderson of the Francis Crick Institute in London, England, who led the study, also warns that Molnupiravir is creating severe complications.
Sanderson suggests that scientists take his team’s research into account when developing new drugs to treat Covid.
COVID-19 is still having a major impact on society as officials push to bring back pandemic-era restrictions amid emerging mutations of the virus.
However, Sanderson’s team believes that Molnupiravir is playing a significant role in perpetuating the virus.
“Our evidence shows that a specific antiviral drug — Molnupiravir — also results in new mutations, increasing the genetic diversity in the surviving viral population,” Sanderson asserts.
“Our findings are useful for ongoing assessment of the risks and benefits of Molnupiravir treatment.
“The possibility of persistent antiviral-induced mutations needs to be taken into account for the development of new drugs that work in a similar way.”