On Dec 23, it emerged that the U.S. has authorized Merck & Co’s (MRK.N) antiviral pill for COVID-19 for those adult patients who are at high-risk. The announcement came a day after giving the go-ahead to similar but more beneficial treatment from Pfizer Inc (PFE.N). Merck’s pill, molnupiravir, was shown to curtail hospitalizations and deaths by roughly 30% in a clinical examination of high-risk individuals early in the course of the illness.

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