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FDA advisers endorse Merck’s COVID-19 pill


Molnupiravir pills Merck & Co.

FDA advisers endorse Merck’s COVID-19 pill

Molnupiravir works by inserting tiny errors into the coronavirus’ genetic code to stop it from reproducing. By a vote of 13-10, an advisory panel to the U.S Food and Drug Administration said the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks but only for adults who test positive and are at high risk of severe illness. The panel’s recommendation does not bind the FDA, which will likely make a final decision later this month. Officials in the United Kingdom have already authorized the pill.

What are the drug’s limitations? Most advisers said only unvaccinated people should use the drug and that women who may be pregnant should not take it. Last week, Merck said final study results showed molnupiravir cut hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 by 30 percent. But Merck has not specifically tested it against the new omicron variant, and that uncertainty gave some experts pause. Rival drugmaker Pfizer also has a COVID-19 pill under review.

Dig deeper: Read Carolina Lumetta’s latest report on the omicron variant in The Sift.


Kent Covington

Kent is a reporter and news anchor for WORLD Radio. He spent nearly two decades in Christian and news/talk radio before joining WORLD in 2012. He resides in Atlanta, Ga.

@kentcovington

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