The United Kingdom became the first country in the world Thursday to approve the COVID-19 antiviral pill from the U.S. company Merck, a potentially game-changing move in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, per Reuters.
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency Thursday recommended the drug — called molnupiravir — for those who have mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 and at least one significant risk factor, such as obesity or diabetes.
- The drug will be administered after someone tests positive for COVID-19 and within five days of symptoms, the agency said.
This is the first time the drug has received a green light from a country. The U.S. is reportedly set to consider the drug next month for potential authorization, according to Reuters.
In October, Merck applied to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its antiviral pill, which would treat coronavirus symptoms similar to how Tamiflu helps those infected with the flu, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
- The pill is “a convenient, relatively inexpensive treatment” that “could reach many more high-risk people sick with Covid than the cumbersome antibody treatments currently being used,” according to The New York Times.
- “Even though this certainly can be a game changer, it’s still very important to look at primary prevention, including preventive measures and vaccinations, as the more effective and the more efficient way of preventing hospitalizations and death,” he said.