How Merck's antiviral pill could change the game for COVID-19
Promising results from clinical trials suggest that the drug may become the first at-home treatment cleared for use by the FDA.
A new drug by Merck significantly reduces the risk of hospitalization and death in people who take it early in the course of their COVID-19 illness, according to the interim results of a major study released today. It is the first oral antiviral found to be effective against this coronavirus.
People who took this drug, called molnupiravir—four pills twice a day for five days—within five days of showing symptoms were about half as likely to be hospitalized as those taking the placebo. They were also less likely to die, with eight deaths in the placebo group reported within a month of treatment and none in those who received the medicine.
“Having a pill that would be easy for people to take at