Merck & Co announced on Friday that its experimental COVID-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half in high-risk patients who were recently infected with the virus. Right now, all virus therapies involve IVs or an injection.
The study found 7.3% of the treatment group were either hospitalized or died at the end of 30 days, compared with 14.1% of those getting a placebo.
How does it work? Simply put, the drug, named molnupiravir, prevents the virus from duplicating and spreading throughout the body.
Merck with its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, said patients that received the pill within five days of the start of COVID symptoms had about half the rate of hospitalization and deaths compared to those who received a placebo.
Now the FDA needs to approve it.
Pfizer is also working on a COVID oral antiviral pill and said it could be ready by the end of the year.