There is a new experimental pill that has reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths by 50%.

I'm glad that drugmakers are still working on new solutions to battle COVID-19. I had concerns that once vaccines were made and approved, and they are proved to be working, that the drugmakers would get complacent.

According to WOOD, drugmaker Merck are working to get a new drug that is in pill form approved for use in the United States and around the world. This would be the first pill to treat COVID-19. This has the potential for a major advance in battling COVID-19.

When Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics were doing testing on patients, half received the drug, while half got a dummy pill. Those who received the experimental pill called molnupiravir, after 5 days had half the rate of hospitalization and no deaths as those who received the dummy pill where many went to the hospital and 8 died.

The testing of this new COVID-19 drug went so well and the results were so positive, the data has already been passed on to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

WOOD reported that vice president of Merck research Dr. Dean Li said, "it exceeded what I thought the drug might be able to do in this clinical trial. When you see a 50% reduction in hospitalization or death that's a substantial clinical impact."

So far the U.S. has only approved remdesivir to be used as an antiviral drug for treating COVID-19. There are also some antibody therapies that are being used to help immune systems fight the virus. Both of these drugs are either injected or put into the body through IV. This new pill could become a critical weapon in the battle against COVID-19 and the delta variant.

This new pill is to be used when a patient's symptoms of COVID-19 first appear to reduce the impact of the virus.

The U.S government is wasting no time in making a commitment with Merck and has agreed to purchase just under 2 million doses of the drug once it is approved by the FDA.

Other drug companies like Pfizer and Roche are working on a similar pill that we will learn more about in the near future.

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