WASHINGTON (Fox News): The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized the use of Merck’s molnupiravir pill for treating COVID-19, the second such emergency use authorization in two days.
The molnupiravir pill is cleared for use by adults 18 and older who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk of being hospitalized or dying.
The FDA on Wednesday authorized Pfizer’s paxlovin drug. Both pills may be taken orally at home, giving health care providers another tool to prevent severe disease amid a wave of omicron variant infections.
“As new variants of the virus continue to emerge, it is crucial to expand the country’s arsenal of COVID-19 therapies using emergency use authorization, while continuing to generate additional data on their safety and effectiveness,” Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.
The FDA said the treatment pills are not substitutes for approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccines, and that molnupiravir is not a preventative drug.
Cavazzoni said that under the authorization, Merck’s pill will be “limited to situations where other FDA-authorized treatments for COVID-19 are inaccessible or are not clinically appropriate and will be a useful treatment option for some patients with COVID-19 at high risk of hospitalization or death,” Cavazzoni said.