Photo Credit: courtesy, Merck
Merck's Molnupiravir capsules to treat COVID-19

The Israeli Health Ministry announced Sunday that it has approved the new antiviral pill produced by Merck, Molnupiravir, intended for use in the fight against COVID-19.

The new pill is approved for use at home by Israelis age 18 and older, and is to be taken within three to five days from the onset of symptoms, for a five-day period.

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“The drug is intended to be given to COVID patients with mild to moderate symptoms who have at least one risk factor that could lead to deterioration, hospitalization or mortality when other existing and approved treatment options in Israel are not appropriate for their use,” the ministry said in a statement.

Israel has signed a contract with Merck for supply of the drug, with the first shipment expected to arrive shortly.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.