Medical research company Merck announced Friday that their investigational oral antiviral medicine reduced the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In addition, it reduced deaths as well. Ridgeback Biotherapeutics teamed up on the study Now, the companies are seeking emergency use authorization in the United States.

Nearly 1,550 COVID positive patients were a part of the study. Every single one had at least one risk factor. Out of those, only 7.3% of those who received the medicine, molnupiravir, hospitalized themselves as a result of their illness. Meanwhile, out of the control group of the study, 14.1% either died or visited a hospital. After 29 days, eight people who did not receive the medicine died while not a single person who received it died.

Merk’s CEO and President Robert M. Davis hopes that this will ease the strain caused by the virus. “With these compelling results, we are optimistic that molnupiravir can become an important medicine as part of the global effort to fight the pandemic and will add to Merck’s unique legacy of bringing forward breakthroughs in infectious diseases when they are needed most,” Davis said.

Ridgeback Biotherapeutics CEO Wendy Holman was equally optimistic. “We are very encouraged by the results from the interim analysis and hope molnupiravir, if authorized for use, can make a profound impact in controlling the pandemic,” Holman said.

Should President Biden authorize molnupiravir it would be the first oral medicine to treat COVID-19.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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