FDA looks at antiviral pills

November 30, 2021
FDA looks at antiviral pills

With omicron [variant] breathing down our necks, we need drugs, we need really effective antivirals, and we need more of them.

Carl Dieffenbach, Ph.D., National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who leads antiviral efforts against COVID-19. The FDA will consider emergency use authorization for Merck’s antiviral drug.
  • The drug, molnupiravir, has recently shown less efficacy against severe disease than previously thought.
  • Initial research showed 50% efficacy; recent data shows 30%.
  • Merck's pill slows the replication of the virus (the key to making you less sick) by altering the way the virus tries to build itself.
  • While some doctors still advocate for the use of this antiviral pill and others, other physicians raise concerns about possible cancer risk, use of this drug during pregnancy, and potential mutations by the virus.
  • Why It Matters: There's currently no pill available to treat or slow the spread of COVID-19. The availability of a pill to help curb the severity of the illness in an individual could also potentially slow community transmission.

FDA advisory group to review safety and efficacy of Merck’s Covid pill

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