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Merck's Molnupiravir could be world's first pill against Covid-19: All you need to know

  As the World Health Organisation (WHO) urges countries to ensure vaccine equality in poor and low-income nations, a new drug could help ease the fight against Covid-19. Pharmaceutical giant Merck has applied for an emergency use authorisation for its oral medication, a pill that cuts down on hospitalisation and death by about 50 per cent.Dubbed Molnupiravir, the clinical trial for the pill showed that it reduced the risk of hospitalisation or death when given to high-risk people early in their infections. If approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, Merck will be the first pill to get approval amid the vast number of vaccines against the deadly coronavirus.

The pharma giant in a release said that it expects to produce 10 million courses of treatment by the end of 2021, with more doses expected to be produced in 2022. Merck entered into a procurement agreement with the US government earlier this year, under which it will supply approximately 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir following approval.

"Merck has entered into supply and purchase agreements for molnupiravir with other governments worldwide, pending regulatory authorization, and is currently in discussions with other governments," the company said in a statement.