Is Molnupiravir a Global Catastrophic Threat?

Is Molnupiravir a Global Catastrophic Threat?

Note that views expressed in this opinion article are the writer’s personal views and not necessarily those of TrialSite.

Merck’s Molnupiravir (also known as EIDD-2801 and MK-4482) is a mutagenic nucleotide analogue [1]. It introduces errors in the SARS-COV-2 RNA at the time of replication after proofreading, and causes lethal mutagenesis [2]. This threatens to accelerate the evolution of the coronavirus.  

Any major variant of the coronavirus represents local optimum (in mutations space), maximizing coronavirus’ fitness. One- or two-point mutations cannot accomplish this. A new variant can only rise through the change of the virus-host-conditions systems, or through larger mutations set. Even a moderate increase in the point mutations frequency causes a big increase in the frequency of multi-point mutations and dangerous recombinations. Such events are too rare to be caught in small trials, but inevitable in large populations, and might lead to catastrophic consequences. The authorization and broad use of Molnupiravir is likely to breed very dangerous SARS-COV-2 variants. 

Assuming a dru...

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