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Merck Ends COVID-19 Vaccine Program Citing Low Immune Response

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Globe Live Media, Monday, January 25, 2021

Pharmaceutical company Merck & Co said on Monday it will finalize development of its two COVID-19 vaccines and focus pandemic research on treatments, while initial data on the efficacy of an experimental oral antiviral are awaited by the end of March. Merck said in a statement that it will record a pre-tax suspension charge in the fourth quarter for the vaccine candidate V591, which it acquired with the purchase of Austrian vaccine maker Themis Bioscience, and V590, developed with the non-profit research organization. IAVI.

In early trials, both vaccines elicited lower immune responses than those seen in people who had recovered from COVID-19, as well as those reported for other vaccines to treat the disease, the company said.


Merck was slow to join the race to develop a vaccine to protect against the coronavirus, which has so far killed more than 2 million people and continues to rise in many parts of the world, including the United States.

Ben Oakley
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