Merck & Co.’s COVID-19 pill, Lagevrio, has been linked to new mutations of the virus. Researchers in the US and at the Francis Crick Institute, Imperial College London, and other UK institutions discovered the links, although the study noted the mutations have not become lethal. Merck said that there is “no evidence” that the drug is associated with current variants of Covid, adding that they doubt the drug will “contribute to the development of new meaningful coronavirus variants.”
Lagevrio works by creating mutations in the Covid genome that prevent the virus from replicating in the body, reducing the chances it will cause severe illness. Some scientists had warned before it was authorized in late 2021 that by virtue of how it works, the drug could give rise to mutations that could turn out to be problematic. The preprint paper has reawakened those worries about the Merck drug.