NEW JERSEY — Drugmaker Merck unveiled a new weapon in the fight against COVID-19 on Monday.
The New Jersey-based company asked regulators with the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorization for an antiviral pill that treats COVID-19 after someone has been infected. It would be used to treat adults with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 who are at high risk of severe disease or hospitalization.
If authorized, it would be the first pill treatment available to fight COVID-19, which could prove to be a game-changer in reducing the number of hospitalizations nationwide.
Dr. Fred Davis, with Northwell Health, joined the PIX11 News at 4 to explain how the pill works and the significance of such a treatment in the global battle against COVID.
“With what we see right now with the preliminary data, this sounds amazing,” he said. “It’s a medication that can be taken orally, which means unlike previous drugs that we’ve used to treat those with COVID requiring IV, this is a medication that can be taken at home.”
Davis said based on the data available, the medication could reduce the risk of hospitalization by 50%.
“And that’s a really dramatic decrease from anything else we’ve had out there so far,” he said.
Watch the video in the player above to find out more about how the pill works, any potential side effects, and more.