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(Merck & Co. via AP)

Pill to treat COVID-19 cuts risk of hospitalization and death by half

October 1st, 2021
This undated image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication.
(Merck & Co. via AP)

A study has found a new pill to treat COVID-19 cuts the risk of death by half.

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics made the announcement today, noting that the risk of hospitalization was also reduced by half with the oral antiviral, called Molnupiravir.

Merck says it will seek emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible.

If approved it would become the first oral medicine that fights viral infection for COVID-19.

A short-term regimen of daily pills would aim to fight the virus early after diagnosis and prevent symptoms from developing after exposure.

Merck has been producing doses while awaiting the study results and expects to produce 10 million by the end of the year.

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