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'Could really be a game changer': FDA approves 2nd COVID pill

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Posted at 9:39 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 22:42:55-05

Another COVID pill is now FDA approved and authorized for people to take home before they get sick enough to be hospitalized.

“I think it could really be a game changer for those who are most at risk of a severe outcome from COVID,” said Amy Mersiovsky, director and chair, Texas A&M University-Central Texas' Department of Nursing.

Merck’s anti-viral pill, Molnupravir, could be big for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults.

Data shows the drug can lower the risk of hospitalization by 30 percent for higher risk adults.

Despite the new pills, local Health experts says getting shots is still most effective.

“We shouldn’t be looking at these pills to be preventative for COVID," said Mersiovsk. "It’s just going to decrease the severity of infection of those people who’ve already gotten sick.”

With the Omicron variant now here, Waco-McLennan County Public Health District officials say the demand for vaccines and tests is rising before the holidays.

“Now with so much demand for home testing because of them across there’s a possibility that we could be missing out on cases,” said Kelly Craine of the Waco-McLennan Health District.

Tracking down case numbers of take home test can be a challenge for the health district. Officials say home test takers to contact the doctor if they’re positive.