Merck announced this week that it’s seeking emergency use authorization for its molnupiravir pill, which means the U.S. is one step closer to the first pill that will help treat COVID-19. Merck claims the pill can cut hospitalizations and deaths in half for people with mild to moderate coronavirus symptoms.
Postdoctoral researcher Stepen Goldstein says the drug has been in development for several years in mice with other types of coronavirus. Goldstein says their findings indicate its best to take the pill shortly after testing positive because the virus replicates so quickly inside the body once it's been contracted. He says molnupiravir interferes with those mutations, stopping the virus in its tracks.
Utah health leaders estimate 17,000 of the 1.7 million doses the federal government has already purchased will initially make its way to the state.
Head of Utah’s health department preparedness and response team Kevin McCulley says the plans are in place to receive the pill, they would just need to be adapted for that specific treatment. He says the state is simply waiting for more guidance from the federal government.