Yale doctor on Merck antiviral COVID-19 pill approval in the UK

Coronavirus

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Health regulators in the United Kingdom have approved Merck’s antiviral COVID-19 pill and some doctors here in the U.S. believe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the United States will not be far behind.

Health experts see having a pill to fight COVID as a major advantage over current treatments which require IV infusion and are not as effective.

“It seems to decrease hospitalizations and death by about half so that is really impressive data,” says Dr. Scott Roberts, a Yale Medicine physician.

He points out that the pill has only been tested so far on unvaccinated people with some sort of risk factor for severe COVID, such as diabetes or a low immune system. Dr. Roberts says research is currently underway to test people who are vaccinated and otherwise healthy.

He explains how the Merck pill works.”In very basic terms, it just keeps the virus from replicating by mimicking a part of the virus itself.”

Dr. Roberts says it works like the drugs that fight other viruses like HIV and herpes and is confident it will get FDA approval due to safety results and lack of side effects.

He sees a good future for COVID treatments.

“I expect over the coming year we’ll see many more drugs that come under FDA review and hopefully change the trajectory of how this disease is treated.”

The Merck antiviral pill results are leaving many medical professionals hopeful.

“Personally, myself and my colleagues are very excited to see really how this impacts COVID going forward.”

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