(CNN) – US Food and Drug Administration advisors voted 13-10 on Tuesday to recommend emergency use authorization of a pill made by Merck & Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to help treat COVID-19.
Members of the FDA’s Antimicrobial Drug Advisory Committee were divided in their vote to recommend molanupiravir, which can reduce one’s risk of serious illness or death by about 30%.
Read more: Whitmer Michigan wants $300M for COVID-19 testing in schools
If given authorization, the drug will be the first oral antiviral treatment to fight COVID-19. It comes in capsule form.
The tablets should be taken within five days of the onset of symptoms for the very best, and people should take the tablets twice a day for five days. Committee members were concerned about the risk to pregnant women.
Read more: 3 students killed, 8 others shot at Oxford High School; 15-year-old suspect in custody
Molnupiravir isn’t the only antiviral scientists are developing against COVID-19. Pfizer applied for its antiviral pill this month. The FDA has yet to set a date for its advisory panel to review that drug.
The FDA will now consider the committee’s recommendations. It is not required to follow the advice of the committee, but it often is.
The US federal government has contracted to buy 3.1 million courses of mollupiravir for $2.2 billion, which is approximately $700 per treatment.
More news: Warren Mann, 34, accused of killing girlfriend
The-CNN-Wire™ and © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., WarnerMedia Co. All rights reserved.