The Japanese Government has signed an agreement to buy around 1.6 million courses of Merck (MSD) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ molnupiravir for $1.2bn on obtaining authorisation or approval. Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency, the US Food and Drug Administration, and the European Medicines Agency are currently reviewing the applications seeking authorisation for the experimental oral antiviral. It is already authorised in the UK to treat adult patients with mild-to-moderate disease and at least one risk factor for developing severe Covid-19.

Johnson & Johnson has signed an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the US Government to provide its single-dose Covid-19 vaccine to the world’s most vulnerable people through the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer. The company plans to supply the initial shipments of the vaccine soon. A part of the COVAX Facility, the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer aids in offering access to Covid-19 shots to individuals residing in conflict zones or humanitarian settings.

An alliance of ten states in the US has filed a lawsuit against the government, challenging a mandate for the healthcare staff in the country to get vaccinated against Covid-19, AP has reported. The lawsuit was filed in a Missouri district court. It alleged that the mandate threatens the jobs of healthcare workers and could worsen the shortage of staff, especially in rural regions. Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire are part of the coalition.