Though doctors and advocates have helped speed up access to the antiviral pills – of which the U.S. has enough to treat 1.7 million people – health providers are few and forms are still required.
The medicine, called molnupiravir, is taken twice a day for five days and works by preventing the virus from replicating. Merck says it will have 10 million packs available by the end of the month.
The FDA is considering new pills that could treat people in early stages of COVID. Here's what to know about how they work, how effective they are and the impact they could make on the pandemic.