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Merck asks US FDA to authorize promising anti-COVID pill

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Molnupiravir (Antiviral COVID-19 Medication) by Merck & Co.

Molnupiravir (Antiviral COVID-19 Medication) by Merck & Co., Photo Date: Undated

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Drugmaker Merck has asked U.S. regulators to authorize its promising antiviral pill against COVID-19, setting the stage for a decision within weeks.

If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19, adding a new, easy-to-use weapon to the world's arsenal against the pandemic.

The FDA will scrutinize company data on the drug's safety and effectiveness before rendering a decision.

All COVID-19 drugs now authorized by the FDA require an IV or injection.