Britain has granted conditional approval to the first pill shown to effectively treat COVID-19.
The pill, molnupiravir, was jointly developed by the U.S. pharmaceutical companies Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
Data showed the drug, when given orally during the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, could cut COVID-related deaths and hospitalizations in half among people at high risk of developing severe illness, according to Reuters.
Britain’s drug regulator recommended that it be administered as soon as possible to those 18 and older who test positive for COVID-19 and within five days of the onset of symptoms.
It was not immediately clear when the pill would be available in Britain.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in October a committee of independent experts would scrutinize the drug’s safety and effectiveness later this month.
Regulators in the European Union and in other countries said they would also soon review the drug.
Some information in this report also came from The Associated Press and Reuters.