LONDON (AP) — Britain has granted a conditional authorization to Merck’s coronavirus antiviral. It’s the first pill shown to successfully treat COVID-19. The U.K. is the first country to OK the treatment. But it wasn’t immediately clear how quickly the drug known as molnupiravir will be available. It’s intended to be taken at home twice a day for five days by people with mild to moderate COVID-19. An antiviral pill that reduces symptoms and speeds recovery could prove groundbreaking, easing caseloads on hospitals and helping to curb outbreaks in poorer countries with fragile health systems. Molnupiravir is also pending review by regulators in the United States and the European Union.
Photo: FILE – The Merck corporate headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J. on May 1, 2018. Britain has granted a conditional authorization to Merck’s coronavirus antiviral, the first pill shown to successfully treat COVID-19. It is the first country to OK the treatment, although it was not immediately clear how quickly the pill would be available. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)