U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., issued the following statement urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider all available options to expedite access to several new COVID-19 therapies that are currently under development.

“The arrival of new COVID-19 therapies could prove pivotal in ending our country’s long and challenging battle with the coronavirus pandemic,” Wicker said. “The FDA must do all it can to expedite access to lifesaving treatments now under development.”

The FDA is currently reviewing an application from drugmakers Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics for emergency use authorization of the antiviral drug molnupiravir. The application follows the conclusion of a clinical trial that showed the pill reduced coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations by 50 percent. The early results from the trial were so positive the researchers stopped accepting new patients and concluded the trial early.

The FDA has also received an application from drugmaker AstraZeneca to authorize use of an antibody therapy to prevent symptomatic COVID-19 for patients whose immune systems make traditional vaccines less effective.

Several other COVID-19 antiviral therapies from a variety of other manufacturers are also under development.

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