FDA panel backs first-of-a-kind COVID-19 pill from Merck
Nov 30, 2021 1 min, 0 secs
health advisers on Tuesday narrowly backed a closely watched COVID-19 pill from Merck, setting the stage for a likely authorization of the first drug that Americans could take at home to treat the coronavirus.

The vote specifically backed the drug for adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who face the greatest risks, including older people and those with conditions like obesity and asthma.

Most experts also said the drug shouldn’t be used in vaccinated patients, who weren’t part of the study and haven’t been shown to benefit.

The drug, molnupiravir, could provide a much-needed weapon against the virus as colder weather pushes case counts higher and U.S.

Merck hasn’t specifically tested its drug against the new variant but said it should have some potency based on its effectiveness against other strains of coronavirus.

Last week, Merck said final study results showed molnupiravir reduced hospitalization and death by 30% among adults infected with the coronavirus, when compared with adults taking a placebo.

They work differently than Merck’s pill and haven’t been linked to the kind of mutation concerns raised with Merck’s drug.

Pfizer said this week that its drug shouldn’t be affected by the omicron variant’s mutations.

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