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Pharmaceutical companies seek FDA approval for the first ever COVID-19 pill

Merck is asking for the FDA to approve their anti-viral pill, Molnupiravir, that can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death in patients with COVID by 50%.

TEXAS, USA — Molunupiravir is the anti-viral pill that could treat patients with COVID. Pharmaceutical companies, Merck Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics are currently seeking authorization for the pill from FDA. 

So far companies have run clinical trials on the drug and it has shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% in patients.

This pill is set to stop the virus from replicating and spreading, to ensure that someone doesn't get sicker.

"It tampers the replication of the virus, and if the virus is not replicating, it would not cause infection in an individual or it would not be as severe as it would if it were allowed to replicate freely," says Dr. Ali.

Molnupiravir would be taken orally and it would treat mild to moderated cases of the virus.

With vaccinations still showing to be the best way to stay protected from the virus. Health experts do think that this drug could significantly help those currently battling COVID-19.

"We are heading into a season where we can see lots of respiratory infections and it someone gets diagnosed with COVID 6-7 days after their symptoms, we can't administer them the drug because it won't make any difference," says Dr. Ali. 

If approved by the FDA, this would be the first COVID pill. It would also be out later on this year.