Medical pills
Medical pills Flash 90

A Covid-19 pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics cuts the risk of hospitalization or death from the illness in half, a study found.

If approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization, Molnupiravir would be the first oral medicine approved for the treatment of Covid, CNN reported.

Merck said it will ask for FDA emergency use authorization “as soon as possible.”

"At the interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%," Merck said in a statement.

"7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo treated patients (53,377). Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo."

Molnupiravir is an oral antiviral. Researchers believe that an oral antiviral is the next method to stop Covid-19, with a short-term dose of daily medication as the way to have early intervention post-diagnosis after exposure so symptoms do not develop.

The oral drug could become the first in a trend toward antiviral pill medications, which could offer a new way to fight the pandemic, the New York Times reported.

The method could be more easily accessible than the current antibody treatments, which are being widely used in the US for sick people but harder to access.

“I think it will translate into many thousands of lives being saved worldwide, where there’s less access to monoclonal antibodies, and in this country, too,” Stanford University infectious disease specialist Robert Shafer told the New York Times.