COVID-19 Pill Reduces Hospitalizations and Deaths by 50%, Merck Says

In Summary

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutic developed a COVID-19 pill that reduces serious symptoms and death of COVID by half.  

Pharmaceutical company Merck said on Friday it developed an experimental COVID-19 pill that reduces hospitalization or death by half for people with a mild or moderate case of the coronavirus.   

Merck has developed the drug, molnupiravir, alongside Ridgeback Biotherapeutic. They plan to request emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other global agencies for the treatment, according to CNBC.   

If approved, molnupiravir would be the first pill to treat COVID-19, theoretically relieving pressure on hospitals dealing with a surge in COVID-19 patients.   

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told the Associated Press, “This would allow us to treat many more people much more quickly and, we trust, much less expensively.”   

“The news of the efficacy of this particular antiviral is obviously very good news,” White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a COVID-19 briefing.  

The trial had 775 participants who experienced COVID-19 symptoms. The group was randomly given the treatment or a placebo within five days of becoming symptomatic.   

RELATED: International Travelers Will Need COVID-19 Vaccine to Visit US

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