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Merck asks the FDA to authorize promising anti-COVID pill

merck pill Molnupiravir.jpeg
Merck & Co.
This undated image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication. The drugmaker has said its experimental pill for people sick with COVID-19 reduced hospitalizations and deaths.

If approved for use, the pills would add an easy-to-use weapon to the arsenal against the coronavirus pandemic.

Drugmaker Merck has asked U.S. regulators to authorize its promising antiviral pill against COVID-19, setting the stage for a decision within weeks.

If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19. All other FDA-backed treatments against the disease require an IV or injection.

Merck has asked for emergency use for adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at risk for severe disease or hospitalization.

An antiviral pill that people could take at home to reduce their symptoms and speed recovery could prove groundbreaking, easing the crushing caseload on hospitals and helping to curb outbreaks in poorer countries with weak health care systems.

It would also bolster the two-pronged approach to the pandemic: treatment, by way of medication, and prevention, primarily through vaccinations.

Click here to read more of this article from the Associated Press.