BREAKING NEWS: FDA advisory committee recommends emergency use authorization of Merck's experimental drug - the first pill to treat COVID-19

An FDA advisory committee voted in favor of emergency use authorization of Merck & Co's pill to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patientsThe drug, molnupiravir, stops viruses like the coronavirus from making copies of itself and spreading throughout the body The next steps are approval by the FDA and signing off by the CDC before the pill can be distributed  

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recommended emergency use authorization of Merck & Co’s experimental pill to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients on Tuesday.

The drug, called molnupiravir, stops the virus from making copies of itself, which prevents it from spreading throughout the body.   

Recent trial data have shown that it can reduce the risk of death or being hospitalized for those at high risk of severe Covid by 30 percent.

On Tuesday, the Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee (AMDAC) voted 13-10In favor of the drug.

The FDA is not bound to follow the advisory group’s recommendations but the agency rarely goes against the guidance of the group. 

If authorized by the FDA and signed off by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Merck’s drug could be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19 – and could allow patients to take the drug at home instead of requiring them to go to a hospital for treatment.

An FDA advisory committee voted in favor of emergency use authorization of Merck & Co's pill to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients. Pictured: Merck's experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir

An FDA advisory committee voted in favor of emergency use authorization of Merck & Co’s pill to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients. Pictured: Merck’s experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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