UPDATED 10:38 AM PT – Monday, October 11, 2021
Drugmakers are seeking FDA authorization for the first oral antiviral medicine for treating COVID-19. Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced Monday that they submitted an application with the agency for emergency-use authorization of molnupiravir.
The experimental medication, originally developed for treating influenza, is now demonstrating results in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases in at-risk adults. Clinical trials of the pill found that it reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50 percent.
NEW: @Merck requests FDA emergency use authorization of its pill, molnupiravir, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults “who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization." https://t.co/EoxlBO5mxZ
— Rachel Acenas (@RachelAcenas) October 11, 2021
The medication is administered as four pills taken twice-a-day for five days. The drug could be made available to Americans by late this year and would be the first authorized oral antiviral medicine for the treatment of COVID-19.
The biotechnology company’s focus revolves around emerging infectious diseases. It’s known to market a treatment for Ebola. The team at Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics noted, they are “dedicated to working toward finding life-saving and life-changing solutions for patients and diseases that need champions.”