Merck reports positive early data for its experimental COVID-19 pill

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The experimental COVID-19 treatment developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics eliminated the novel coronavirus in clinical trial participants with symptomatic COVID-19 after five days of treatment, the drugmakers announced March 6.

The announcement is based on early data from a phase 2a clinical trial that involved 202 non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The pill, molnupiravir, was well tolerated by the participants and significantly reduced their viral load.

The drugmakers are continuing to study the drug in phase 2/3 clinical programs, which will test it in both outpatient and hospital settings.

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