According to ABC news, a panel of U.S. health advisers voted to back the benefits of a closely watched COVID-19 pill from Merck, called Molnupiravir. The move is setting the stage for a likely authorization of the first drug that Americans could take at home to treat the virus. What a tight margin though, an FDA panel voted 13-10 that the drug's benefits outweigh its risks, including potential birth defects if used during pregnancy. Experts backing the treatment stressed it should not be used by pregnant women and called on FDA to recommend extra precautions, including pregnancy tests for women before using the drug. The group's vote specifically backed the drug for adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who face the greatest risks, including those with conditions like obesity, asthma and old age.
The FDA isn't bound by the panel's recommendation and is expected to make its own decision before year's end.
The pill is already authorized in the U.K.
Merck's website stated : Merck and Ridgeback’s Investigational Oral Antiviral Molnupiravir Reduced the Risk of Hospitalization or Death by Approximately 50 Percent Compared to Placebo for Patients with Mild or Moderate COVID-19 in Positive Interim Analysis of Phase 3 Study