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Merck COVID-19 treatment pill could be available by end of year, Dr. Adalja predicts

Merck announced this week a new pill to treat COVID-19 and its application for Emergency Use Authorization, which Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Dr. Amesh Adalja predicted could come to market by the end of 2021.

“If everything works according to plan, meaning the emergency use authorization, robust phase three clinical data and all of the signals look good,” he told “Fox News Live” on Sunday. “I think this is something hopefully by the end of the year we might see on shelves or be able to be prescribing to patients. And it would be game-changing.”

Dr. Adalja, a Merck advisory board member, explained that this treatment has been in the works “for some time” and is now showing promising results. The pill will primarily treat patients who experience breakthrough infections, or for the unvaccinated, in order to keep people out of the hospital.


Once the pill is ingested, Adalja explained, its function is to prevent the coronavirus from replicating and completing its life cycle. The doctor likened the drug to Tamiflu which is taken for several consecutive days.

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Even Dr. Anthony Fauci gave his public seal of approval on CNN’s “State of the Union,” calling the results “quite impressive,” but Adalja pressed that the treatment is still not an alternative to the vaccine.

“Prevention is always better than treatment,” he said. “It’s great that we’ve got treatments now but prevention is always going to be the priority, especially with safe and effective vaccines like we have in this country.”

Adalja said that Pfizer also has a COVID-19 treatment drug on the way which will hopefully begin to build an antiviral “portfolio” in medicine.

“This is part of making COVID something that we can treat like other respiratory infections, day in and day out,” he said. “We’re looking to a better future with a much more manageable COVID-19.”


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