US pharmaceutical giant Merck said Monday that it has applied for emergency use authorization of its oral anti-Covid drug in the United States, a major step towards finding a simple pill to treat the disease.

Merck has submitted the application for molnupiravir, which it said earlier this month was shown to reduce hospitalisations by 50 percent.

It said it was working “with regulatory agencies worldwide to submit applications for emergency use or marketing authorization in the coming months.”

“The extraordinary impact of this pandemic demands that we move with unprecedented urgency,” Robert Davis, chief executive officer and president of Merck, said in the statement.

“That is what our teams have done by submitting this application for molnupiravir to the FDA within 10 days of receiving the data,” he added.

Wendy Holman, chief executive of Merck’s partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, called the application a “critical step towards making molnupiravir available to people who may benefit from an oral antiviral medicine that can be taken at home shortly after diagnosis with Covid-19.”

Source: National News Agency