Today, Thursday, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the antiviral drug “Merck” to treat corona, adding another tool to the virus’s arsenal.
The US Food and Drug Administration’s move comes a day after it licensed another antiviral drug from Pfizer.
In a statement, the agency said that Merck’s treatment, known as molnupiravir and developed in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, has been approved for use in adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at risk of severe disease.
Pfizer is licensed for people under 12 years old.
The big advantage of oral treatments, such as Merck and Pfizer’s treatments, is that they can be taken at home, and do not require an intravenous injection. This could help hospitals as new infections are expected to continue to rise this winter.
Clinical trials have found that the treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk COVID-19 patients by 30%.
By comparison, Pfizer’s drug has been shown to be 89% effective in preventing people at high risk from being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. But availability of the Pfizer treatment will be much more limited than the Merck treatment initially, NBC News reported.