Will There Be A COVID-19 Treatment Pill?
You may soon be able to take a pill to treat COVID-19 that’s because the FDAs independent advisory panel voted earlier this week in a 13–10 vote to give it emergency use authorization.
This is the Merck’s COVID-19 pill. This pill will be able to be used in adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections and who are at severe risk of disease or hospitalization.
There were lots of questions about the drug like effectiveness, safety and whether it would possibly contribute to mutations and more dangerous COVID-19 variants.
Merck originally said the drug was more than 50% effective in preventing hospitalization and death. After the FDA fully investigated that research the panel said this week the drug is actually 30% effective.
The FDA’s independent panel says the benefits of this drug is it doesn’t need to be administered by IV or injection. Merck says patients should begin the treatment during early onset symptoms generally within 5 days of testing positive for COVID-19. Both Merck and the FDA advise pregnant women to not take this drug along with children under the age of 18.
As always with emergency use authorization there are several steps before this pill becomes available to the general public. Now the FDA commissioner will either approve or deny this enforcement by the panel. Then it gets sent to the CDC advisory panel who will either approve or deny the recommendations set forward by the panel.