With the omicron variant on the rise around the world, new methods to combat the coronavirus would be helpful. That is especially true because almost all of the monoclonal antibodies that have been used in the past don’t seem to work against this variant.
Two antiviral pills produced by Pfizer and Merck that have been working their way through FDA approval therefore seemed like a welcome addition to the arsenal of treatments. That is, until the latest study of the Merck medication—called molnupiravir—proved to be less than stellar, and the FDA put the brakes on the approval.
Those poor results—only about 30% effective against COVID—have led some to say the FDA should reject the drug. They argue not only that it doesn’t work well enough; there are also concerns about the effects it might have on those taking it or even on the coronavirus itself.