UK health authorities announced the approval of the first oral antiviral medicine for COVID-19 treatment on November 4, becoming the first country in the world to authorize the drug.
The pill, Molnupiravir, is produced by Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
“As an oral therapeutic, Molnupiravir offers an important addition to the vaccines and medicines deployed so far to counter the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr Dean Y Li, executive vice president and president at Merck Research Laboratories.
In a statement, Merck said the drug was for “the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults with a positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test and who have at least one risk factor for developing severe illness.”
Footage released by Merck & Co shows researchers working on the drug and manufacturers producing it for distribution. Credit: Merck & Co. via Storyful