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Antiviral drug Molnupiravir showing promise in trials against coronavirus

Molnupiravir is currently in clinical trials and could be a promising tool against coronavirus.

TAMPA, Fla. — Over the last year, several drugs have either been developed or tested to treat coronavirus. Now there's another that's showing some promise. 

Molnupiravir is an antiviral drug in clinical trials.

We talked with molecular epidemiologist Dr. Jill Roberts about it being a treatment for COVID-19. 

She says the way that it works is it messes up viral replication. It's shown some use against other viruses such as SARS and MERS.

Dr. Roberts says during an animal study on ferrets, they tried to get coronavirus to spread, and it wouldn't. So while it's a treatment designed to prevent hospitalizations and deaths, it also seems to prevent transmission. 

While there is no timetable about when this would be available, it could be promising for future viruses or pandemics. 

"This is a great tool to have to be able to know for future viruses maybe if we get a mutant that actually circumvents the vaccines, this drug will still work."

Dr. Roberts says now that Merck is behind it, it has the resources to do a big enough trial to send to the FDA to get Emergency Use Authorization or even full authorization. 

A couple of other positives she pointed out with this drug: it can also be used for people who do not want to get a vaccine or don't have the resources to get shots. And, this is a pill, unlike other treatments right now that are IVs and have to be given at a treatment center. 

RELATED: Regulators approve Eli Lilly's COVID-19 treatment for emergency use

RELATED: Where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida

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