Merck & Co. has made waves by claiming one of its antiviral drugs, molnupiravir, could reduce hospitalizations for COVID-19 by roughly half — as has the company’s announced plans to seek emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for the drug.

Experts are optimistic that the drug could be the first of several new therapeutics and prophylactics for COVID-19 — but caution that molnupiravir may not be right for every patient, requires scaled-up production and could be more costly in the commercial market than many expect.

Merck on Oct. 1 claimed in a press release that “molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death [from COVID-19] by approximately 50%.” However, the firm’s clinical trial data has not yet been released for peer review or to the FDA.

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