Israel Authorizes Use of Merck’s Anti-COVID Pill

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc. (Merck & Co Inc/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo)

The Health Ministry announced on Sunday it had authorized the use of the molnupiravir pill for COVID-19 patients over 18 years of age and signed a supply contract with Merck & Co for its supply, with the first shipment due soon.

Molnupiravir was authorized by the United States last month for certain high-risk adult patients and has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by around 30% in a clinical trial. In November, Britain became the first country in the world to approve molnupiravir.

Last week, the first shipment of Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 pill arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, following Israel’s purchase of some 100,000 doses.