East Texas pharmacy owner says Merck’s new pill for COVID-19 could reduce severity of illness

Coronavirus

TYLER, Texas (KETK)- Some people are hopeful about a new pill for COVID-19.

The experimental antiviral drug is called Molnupiravir. On Friday, Merck & Co announced their plan to request emergency use authorization from the FDA. 

“It’s all very preliminary. This is early in the study, but they did move it forward into FDA approval territory already ramping up production. So, it looks like they’re probably doing some behind the scenes things where the FDA feels really good about the drug and getting it into production,” said Rose City Pharmacy Owner Sonny Krezdorn. 

According to Merck, they ended early on the recruitment for the study due to their positive findings. 

“The data are impressive. In the placebo group there were eight deaths, and in the treatment group there were no deaths. That’s also very important and very good news,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top medical adviser to President Biden. 

If approved, the drug would be used after diagnosis and not as a replacement for the vaccine. 

“What this is going to do is it’s not going to be a preventive. But, when somebody is positive for COVID this is going to help reduce the severity of that case. So, if somebody tests positive for COVID and gets started on this regimen, it reduces their chances of being hospitalized and then moving onto a severe case,” said Krezdorn.

This drug reduces a patient’s symptoms and viral load, thus shortening the duration of the illness. However, health experts continue to urge people to get their vaccines. 

“The best thing you can do right now is still get vaccinated because it will protect you and really prevent moving onto these phases where you need these other treatment modalities that can help reduce severity,” said Krezdorn.

If Molnupiravir receives backing from the FDA, it will be the first pill to treat COVID-19.

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