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What the Brexit failure reveals about our current morass

Washington (CNN)On Tuesday night, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to usher her country out of the European Union — a move forced by the Brexit vote of 2016 — was crushingly rejected in Parliament.The decision left the British government in total chaos, with just 73 days to go before the country is supposed to…

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What the Brexit failure reveals about our current morass

Washington (CNN)On Tuesday night, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to usher her country out of the European Union — a move forced by the Brexit vote of 2016 — was crushingly rejected in Parliament.

The decision left the British government in total chaos, with just 73 days to go before the country is supposed to leave the EU. Critiques — of May, of the original Brexit vote, of Parliament — were legion. Solutions were significantly more scarce.
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Ex-intel official who created controversial Trump Russia dossier speaks out

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Ex-intel official who created controversial Trump Russia dossier speaks out
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Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) says if the committee investigating the January 6th capitol riot were to subpoena former President Donald Trump at the start of the process it would become “kind of a circus,” but they would subpoena Trump if he had information they needed.”},{“title”:”Justice Breyer: ‘It’s important not to have transparency'”,”duration”:”02:09″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/14/justice-stephen-breyer-supreme-court-transparency-orig-jm.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/14/justice-stephen-breyer-supreme-court-transparency-orig-jm.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211014103555-03-breyer-biskupic-interview-1013-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/14/justice-stephen-breyer-supreme-court-transparency-orig-jm.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s Legal Analyst Joan Biskupic sat down with one of the Supreme Court’s justices, Stephen Breyer, to talk about transparency in the high courts. The justices have long referred to their private sessions, in which only the nine are present, as “the conference.””,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Legal Analyst Joan Biskupic sat down with one of the Supreme Court’s justices, Stephen Breyer, to talk about transparency in the high courts. The justices have long referred to their private sessions, in which only the nine are present, as “the conference.””},{“title”:”‘Words certainly matter’: Psaki on watchdog complaint against her”,”duration”:”01:00″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-citizens-for-responsibility-and-ethics-in-washington-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-citizens-for-responsibility-and-ethics-in-washington-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211015165717-jen-psaki-the-lead-10-15-large-169.jpeg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-citizens-for-responsibility-and-ethics-in-washington-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”White House press secretary Jen Psaki responds to a Hatch Act complaint from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, alleging that she appeared to endorse a candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race during a White House press briefing.”,”descriptionText”:”White House press secretary Jen Psaki responds to a Hatch Act complaint from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, alleging that she appeared to endorse a candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race during a White House press briefing.”},{“title”:”New video shows first rioters enter Capitol on January 6″,”duration”:”02:03″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/first-rioters-to-enter-capitol-doj-video-tsr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/first-rioters-to-enter-capitol-doj-video-tsr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211015190821-capitol-rioters-enter-first-tsr-vpx-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/first-rioters-to-enter-capitol-doj-video-tsr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”The Justice Department released new video that they say captures one of the first successful breaches of the Capitol building on January 6.”,”descriptionText”:”The Justice Department released new video that they say captures one of the first successful breaches of the Capitol building on January 6.”},{“title”:”This is why Virginia gubernatorial candidates are vying for Latino votes”,”duration”:”03:29″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/latino-voters-virginia-governors-race-sanchez-dnt-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/latino-voters-virginia-governors-race-sanchez-dnt-lead-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211011051235-virginia-gubernatorial-debate-terry-mcauliffe-glenn-youngkin-092821-file-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/latino-voters-virginia-governors-race-sanchez-dnt-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Amid an uptick in support for Republicans among the reliably Democratic-leaning demographic, Virginia gubernatorial candidates fight for Latino support. CNN’s Boris Sanchez reports.”,”descriptionText”:”Amid an uptick in support for Republicans among the reliably Democratic-leaning demographic, Virginia gubernatorial candidates fight for Latino support. CNN’s Boris Sanchez reports.”},{“title”:”‘Doesn’t it seem tone-deaf?’: Tapper presses Psaki about WH chief of staff’s retweet”,”duration”:”02:30″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-ron-klain-inflation-retweet-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-ron-klain-inflation-retweet-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211015163834-tapper-psaki-split-vpx-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-ron-klain-inflation-retweet-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s Jake Tapper presses White House press secretary Jen Psaki about a tweet from President Joe Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain endorsing the idea that inflation is a “high-class problem.””,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Jake Tapper presses White House press secretary Jen Psaki about a tweet from President Joe Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain endorsing the idea that inflation is a “high-class problem.””},{“title”:”CNN reporter explains the evidence against Capitol officer”,”duration”:”03:10″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/capitol-police-officer-indicted-obstruction-of-justice-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/capitol-police-officer-indicted-obstruction-of-justice-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210120173959-capitol-police-badge-file-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/capitol-police-officer-indicted-obstruction-of-justice-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”A US Capitol police officer has been indicted on obstruction charges in connection to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.”,”descriptionText”:”A US Capitol police officer has been indicted on obstruction charges in connection to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.”},{“title”:”White House announces date for fully vaccinated visitors to enter US”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/us-border-travel-restrictions-diamond-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/us-border-travel-restrictions-diamond-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211015101437-airport-travelers-0528-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/us-border-travel-restrictions-diamond-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to travel to the United States starting on November 8, the White House said. CNN’s Jeremy Diamond has more.”,”descriptionText”:”Foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to travel to the United States starting on November 8, the White House said. 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Chuck Grassley about his change in opinion on former President Donald Trump after Grassley accepted an endorsement from him. “},{“title”:”Jan. 6 committee moves to hold Bannon in criminal contempt”,”duration”:”02:36″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/us/2021/10/14/steve-bannon-insurrection-criminal-contempt-newsroom-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”us/2021/10/14/steve-bannon-insurrection-criminal-contempt-newsroom-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210203063618-file-steve-bannon-2020-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/us/2021/10/14/steve-bannon-insurrection-criminal-contempt-newsroom-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”The Jan. 6 select committee has moved to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt as he refuses to testify. “,”descriptionText”:”The Jan. 6 select committee has moved to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt as he refuses to testify. “},{“title”:”Republican candidate can’t answer if he wants Trump campaigning in his state”,”duration”:”01:49″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/14/virginia-race-update-zeleny-dnt-the-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/14/virginia-race-update-zeleny-dnt-the-lead-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211007201630-glenn-youngkin-09-23-2021-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/14/virginia-race-update-zeleny-dnt-the-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”As both candidates continue to campaign for the Virginia gubernatorial election, Republican Glenn Youngkin seems to be distancing himself from former President Donald Trump. 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CNN’s Boris Sanchez reports.”,”descriptionText”:”Amid an uptick in support for Republicans among the reliably Democratic-leaning demographic, Virginia gubernatorial candidates fight for Latino support. CNN’s Boris Sanchez reports.”},{“title”:”‘Doesn’t it seem tone-deaf?’: Tapper presses Psaki about WH chief of staff’s retweet”,”duration”:”02:30″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-ron-klain-inflation-retweet-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-ron-klain-inflation-retweet-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211015163834-tapper-psaki-split-vpx-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/jen-psaki-ron-klain-inflation-retweet-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s Jake Tapper presses White House press secretary Jen Psaki about a tweet from President Joe Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain endorsing the idea that inflation is a “high-class problem.””,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Jake Tapper presses White House press secretary Jen Psaki about a tweet from President Joe Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain endorsing the idea that inflation is a “high-class problem.””},{“title”:”CNN reporter explains the evidence against Capitol officer”,”duration”:”03:10″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/capitol-police-officer-indicted-obstruction-of-justice-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/capitol-police-officer-indicted-obstruction-of-justice-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/210120173959-capitol-police-badge-file-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/capitol-police-officer-indicted-obstruction-of-justice-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”A US Capitol police officer has been indicted on obstruction charges in connection to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.”,”descriptionText”:”A US Capitol police officer has been indicted on obstruction charges in connection to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.”},{“title”:”White House announces date for fully vaccinated visitors to enter US”,”duration”:”01:32″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/us-border-travel-restrictions-diamond-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/us-border-travel-restrictions-diamond-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211015101437-airport-travelers-0528-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/us-border-travel-restrictions-diamond-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to travel to the United States starting on November 8, the White House said. CNN’s Jeremy Diamond has more.”,”descriptionText”:”Foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to travel to the United States starting on November 8, the White House said. CNN’s Jeremy Diamond has more.”},{“title”:”Avlon: To defend our democracy just follow the law”,”duration”:”04:07″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/trump-subpeona-doj-jan-6-reality-check-avlon-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/trump-subpeona-doj-jan-6-reality-check-avlon-newday-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211011103211-donald-trump-100921-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/trump-subpeona-doj-jan-6-reality-check-avlon-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s John Avlon breaks down how Donald Trump avoided the law for his crimes during his presidency and how he must answer to them now. “,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s John Avlon breaks down how Donald Trump avoided the law for his crimes during his presidency and how he must answer to them now. “},{“title”:”Andrew McCabe on Trump: I don’t care what that guy has to say”,”duration”:”03:15″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/14/andrew-mccabe-fbi-settlement-intv-job-ac360-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/14/andrew-mccabe-fbi-settlement-intv-job-ac360-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211014205049-cooper-mccabe-split-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/14/andrew-mccabe-fbi-settlement-intv-job-ac360-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s Anderson Cooper talks with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has settled a lawsuit with the Justice Department and regained his pension and ability to officially retire after being fired by Trump-era Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s Anderson Cooper talks with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has settled a lawsuit with the Justice Department and regained his pension and ability to officially retire after being fired by Trump-era Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”},{“title”:”Dr. Gupta shares details of Bill Clinton’s hospitalization”,”duration”:”02:46″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2021/10/15/bill-clinton-hospitalized-gupta-cpt-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2021/10/15/bill-clinton-hospitalized-gupta-cpt-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200419124757-01-bill-clinton-file-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”http://rss.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/10/15/bill-clinton-hospitalized-gupta-cpt-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Former President u003ca href=”https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/14/politics/bill-clinton-hospitalized/index.html” target=”_blank”>Bill Clintonu003c/a> was admitted to the University of California Irvine Medical Center’s intensive care unit for a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream, his doctors tell CNN. 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3 dead and police officer stabbed in the neck in Fort Smith, Arkansas incident

A police officer was responding to a 911 caller Sunday morning who reportedly heard yelling and screaming and then saw a shirtless man “assaulting a person on the ground,” Fort Smith Police Chief Danny Baker said in a news conference.When the officer arrived, the shirtless man was beating his 15-year-old son with a rock in…

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3 dead and police officer stabbed in the neck in Fort Smith, Arkansas incident

A police officer was responding to a 911 caller Sunday morning who reportedly heard yelling and screaming and then saw a shirtless man “assaulting a person on the ground,” Fort Smith Police Chief Danny Baker said in a news conference.

When the officer arrived, the shirtless man was beating his 15-year-old son with a rock in the head and face and, and the officer ordered him to stop, Baker said.

At first the man seemed to comply, but when the officer approached the man to put him in restraints, the man produced “an edged weapon slashing the officer’s throat and neck” just under a minute after the officer arrived, Baker said.

The officer fired two shots, killing the man, according to Baker. The 15-year-old was pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital. He had multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma, the chief said.

Other officers found a woman dead from apparent stab wounds and evidence of “an extremely violent attack” inside the home.

A 5-year-old child was also found in the home and is now being cared for by family, Baker said.

“I have no doubt that our officers’ swift action saved this young child’s life,” Baker said.

The injured officer was rushed to the hospital with a serious laceration to his throat and neck, the chief said. He is now in stable condition after emergency surgery.

Baker said he has asked the Arkansas State Police to take the lead in the investigation because the incident involved an officer firing their weapon at someone.

The injured officer has been placed on paid administrative leave for a minimum of three days and will remain on leave for as long as needed. A second officer has also been placed on leave, Baker said.

“We’re all left scared, angry, frustrated, sometimes hopeless. No one believes in the sanctity of life more than the men and women of the Fort Smith Police Department. Each one of us are sworn to protect it at all costs. So, it hurts us as much as it does each of you when an outcome like this is unavoidable,” Baker said.

“I’m thankful for officers who are willing to put their lives on the line when evil threatens our community. I’m thankful for the medical team, who took care of our officer. And I’m thankful for our community, that always pulls together when tragedy strikes. My heart goes out to all those who have been impacted by this terrible event. Please pray for all of us.”

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Countries in Asia are placing orders for a new drug to treat coronavirus. Poorer nations could miss out again

Experts say while the pill looks promising, they worry some people will use it as an alternative to vaccines, which still offer the best protection. And they caution that Asia’s race to stock up on the pill could see a repeat of the vaccine grab last year, when wealthier countries were accused of hoarding doses…

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Countries in Asia are placing orders for a new drug to treat coronavirus. Poorer nations could miss out again

Experts say while the pill looks promising, they worry some people will use it as an alternative to vaccines, which still offer the best protection.

And they caution that Asia’s race to stock up on the pill could see a repeat of the vaccine grab last year, when wealthier countries were accused of hoarding doses as lower-income countries missed out.

“(Molnupiravir) really does have the potential — the potential — to change the game a bit,” said Rachel Cohen, the North American executive director at non-profit Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative.

“We need to make sure that we don’t repeat history — that we don’t fall into the same patterns or repeat the same mistakes that we saw for Covid vaccines.”

What is molnupiravir?

Molnupiravir is seen as a positive step because it offers a way to treat Covid-19 — without patients needing to be in hospital.

The pill works like this: Once a patient is diagnosed with Covid-19, they can start a course of molnupiravir. That involves four 200-milligram capsules, twice a day, for five days — a total of 40 pills.

Unlike vaccines, which prompt an immune response, molnupiravir disrupts replication of the virus, said Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious diseases physician and associate professor of medicine at Australian National University Medical School. “In a sense, it makes the virus produce unhealthy babies,” he said.

Merck headquarters in Kenilworth, New Jersey on January 25, 2021.
Interim Phase 3 results from a trial of more than 700 unvaccinated patients released earlier this month showed the pill might reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%, compared to patients who took a placebo. The participants were all given the pill or placebo within five days of symptom onset — and within 29 days, none of those who took the pill died, compared with eight who were given the placebo. Full data from the molnupiravir trial has not yet been released, and the data has not yet been peer-reviewed or published.
Wendy Holman, chief executive officer of Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which is collaborating on the development, said in a statement the results were encouraging — and she hoped the drug could make a “profound impact in controlling the pandemic.”

“Antiviral treatments that can be taken at home to keep people with Covid-19 out of the hospital are critically needed,” she said.

Experts agree the drug is promising. Rather than patients waiting to see if they get seriously ill, the virus could potentially be treated straight after they are diagnosed, said Cohen, from the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative.

And unlike other Covid-19 treatments, molnupiravir can be taken at home, freeing up hospital resources for more seriously ill patients.

“Getting a tablet is so much simpler,” Senanayake said. “This is a game changer.”

What the Covid pill means for vaccines

Vaccines are still the best protection, say experts — after all, they can reduce the risk of a person getting Covid-19 at all.

But even in Asia-Pacific, where vaccine rates in many countries have improved after a slow start, millions of people are still not inoculated either because they don’t qualify, or they can’t access shots.

And that’s where the pill comes in.

“There are lots of people that cannot get vaccinated,” said Nial Wheate, an associate professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Pharmacy. “This drug will be a frontline solution for those people that end up getting sick.”

New Zealand and Australia were Covid success stories. Why are they behind on vaccine rollouts?

But Wheate and other experts are concerned the pill may make it harder to convince some people to get vaccinated, compounding the vaccine hesitancy seen in a number of countries, including Australia.

Research shows people prefer to swallow medicines rather than be injected, Wheate said.

“If you’d said to me a year and a half ago that people will refuse a vaccine for a disease that’s wiping out the planet, I would have thought you’re crazy,” he said. “There is always scope for people to think that this drug will be a much better solution than getting vaccinated.”

But experts say the pill isn’t a replacement for vaccines.

Senanayake says the approach is similar to how we treat the flu — there’s a flu vaccine, but there are also antiviral medicines to treat those who become ill.

Cohen says the pill doesn’t mean there’s less urgency in scaling up equitable access to vaccines.

“Vaccine equity is sort of the defining challenge of our time. But you never fight an infectious disease with just one set of tools,” she said. “We really need the full arsenal of health technologies.”

Why Asia-Pacific countries are buying the Covid pill

According to Airfinity data, 10 countries or territories are in negotiations or have signed deals for the pill — and eight of them are in Asia-Pacific.

Some of those countries may be trying to avoid mistakes of the past when slow orders led to delayed vaccine rollouts.

“I think we just want to make sure that we’re ahead of the game when it comes to these other new developments,” Senanayake said.

“There’s a few middle-income countries in there that I think are just trying not to fall into the same trap that they were left in when high-income countries hoarded all the vaccines,” added Cohen.

It’s not clear how much each of these countries will pay for the pills.

The United States agreed to pay $1.2 billion for 1.7 million courses if the pill is approved, meaning the government is paying about $700 per course. An analysis by researchers Melissa Barber and Dzintars Gotham found that it costs about $18 to produce a course of molnupiravir based on a calculation of the cost of raw materials.
Gotham, who researches access to medicines, said it was common for pharmaceutical companies to impose a large markup on drugs, but said he was surprised to see that high a price since US funding contributed to the pill’s development.
A woman receives a dose of the Pfizer vaccine on October 5, 2021 in the district of Gua Musang, Kelantan, Malaysia.

Merck did not confirm whether those estimates were accurate, although in a statement to CNN, the company said the calculations don’t take into account research and development.

“We have not yet established a price for molnupiravir because it has not been approved for use,” the company said. “We have an advance purchase agreement with the US government and that price is specific to a substantial volume of molnupiravir and does not represent a list price for the US or any other country.”

In a statement in June, Merck said it planned to use a tiered pricing approach for different countries, and had also entered into licensing agreements with generic manufacturers to accelerate availability of the pill in 104 low- and middle-income countries.

A lack of equality

Lower-income countries may be at a disadvantage when it comes to using the pill.

Once the drug is approved for use, countries will need to decide whether to give it to anyone who shows symptoms, or to require a positive test before they can get it.

But that requires access to testing. And in some countries that could be an issue, said Cohen. The interim results on the pill are for people who were given it within five days of symptom onset — and in some countries, getting a test that quickly could be a problem.

Rich countries are hoarding Covid-19 vaccines and leaving the developing world behind, People's Vaccine Alliance warns
Non-profit Doctors Without Borders hailed the drug as “potentially lifesaving care” for people living in areas where many are unvaccinated and vulnerable to the disease.

First, though, is the question of how they can access it.

While the drug would be simple to produce, according to Leena Menghaney, the South Asia head for the group’s access campaign, Merck controls the patent and is able to decide which countries to supply the drug to and at what price.

She renewed calls for a patent waiver that would waive intellectual property rights so that countries all over the world can produce versions of the medicine — potentially saving many more lives. Earlier in the pandemic, activists pushed for a waiver for Covid-19 vaccines, but the request was blocked by a small number of governments, including the United Kingdom.

Cohen said health tools and technologies should be treated as a public good — and that the situation raised questions about how we can make sure those benefits are shared equitably.

“We are concerned that that could potentially lead to a kind of therapeutic nationalism,” she said. “What we’re most concerned about, though, is that equitable access to antivirals may be particularly challenging in low- and middle-income countries.”

Senanayake said once again there was a risk of richer countries getting more than their fair share.

“With Covid, you have to be selfless to be selfish,” he said. “Otherwise, if you protect your own little cocoon, your own little country, if it occurs in other countries, then a new variant can emerge that can escape the vaccine.”

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