Merck announcing it submitted an application with the FDA for authorization for the drug Molnupiravir.
It's an antiviral pill to treat mild to moderate COVID in at-risk adults. 8 pills are taken over 5 days. The U-S has already bought 1.7 million courses for more than 1 billion dollars-- if authorized-- which could happen by the end of the year. The drug would not be a replacement for a vaccine -- but is likely more effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. An interim analysis from a clinical trial found the antiviral medicine reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%.
In June, the Biden administration allocated $3.2 billion toward the development of an antiviral, saying the drugs would be a crucial part of the fight against the virus. If the medicine is approved for emergency use authorization, Merck says it will supply about 1.7 million doses of molnupiravir to the U.S. government for distribution, according to USA Today.