WASHINGTON— 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 approved by Food and Drug Administration, this pill would be the first to treat COVID-19. It would also add an easy-to-use tool to the global arsenal against the pandemic.
Before making a decision, the FDA will review data from companies about the drug’s safety or effectiveness.
All COVID-19 medications currently approved by FDA to combat COVID-19 must be administered via IV or injection.
Molnupiravir (a Molnupiravir-like drug) is a potent ribonucleoside analogue that prevents the COVID-19 virus from reproducing.
Earlier this monthMerck claimed that trials of the drug reduced hospitalizations and deaths among adult patients with mild to moderate COVID-19, who were laboratory-confirmed to have at least one risk factor for poor outcomes.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House medical adviser, stated that data from the drug’s clinical trials were encouraging after he released them.
“There was a 50% decrease in importance. In the placebo group, there were eight deaths, while in the treatment group, there weren’t any deaths. Fauci also stated that this is very important and good news.
Federal government already bought 1.7 million Merck’s drug, with the option of purchasing more.
“If approved I think this is the best way to view it. This is a potential tool in our arsenal to protect people against the worst outcomes from COVID,” White House COVID-19 team coordinator Jeff Zients stated last Wednesday. It’s very important to remember that vaccination is still the most effective tool against COVID-19. It can stop you from getting COVID. And we want to prevent them from happening.