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Australia to buy Merck’s COVID-19 pill

Australia will buy 300,000 courses of an experimental antiviral pill made by Merck and Co.Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement Tuesday (October 5).”These treatments mean that we’re going to be able to live with the virus, so even in the unfortunate situation if you do contract the virus, then we’ll have the treatments to ensure that we can lessen these symptoms, reduce the chance of you ending up on ICU which can put pressure on the hospital systems.”The pill, named Molnupiravir, would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19 if it can get regulatory approval.Experts say it could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalized for people most at risk of getting severe COVID.Morrison said the capsules have to be taken twice a day for five days by adult patients for a course of ten.He also said the drug is expected to available in Australia by early next year if approved by the country’s drug regulator.Australia is stepping up its vaccination rate as its largest cities Sydney and Melbourne go through weeks-long lockdowns.The national first-dose rate in adults pushed past 80% on Tuesday (October 5) morning. It comes as Victoria recorded the highest number of daily COVID infections of any state in the country since the start of the pandemic.1763 new infections were reported on Saturday (October 2).Australia has had some of the world’s strictest border rules during the global health crisis, but aims to reopen next month for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents.

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