The latest in COVID-19 news from Will Humble, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association

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A new antiviral medication is in the works that could significantly reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. The medication is in pill form and could be a game-changer in the fight against COVID. We talked about this new development, along with other COVID issues, with former State Health Director Will Humble, now the Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association.

What is this “Merck” made pill?

“It’s an antiviral medication so it’s a pill that you would take that interferes with the replication of the virus…with the RNA piece of it….it’s an investigational new drug so it’s not something that’s available behind the pharmacy counter right now, it’s been under investigation for a while,” Humble said.

He continued that Merck shared results from a small phase 3 clinical trial that Merck said in a press release it showed promising results.

But, he mentions there’s nothing in a journal article and it hasn’t been published, they haven’t submitted anything publicly, “they say they’re turning data into the FDA for emergency use authorization that hasn’t happened yet.”

Humble shared that Merck says the pill, “if taken early in the course of the illness, prevents most of the hospitalizations, doesn’t completely prevent hospitalizations. So, it prevents the more severe symptoms.”

He said that even though this pill has potential, he hopes it’s not overly emphasized on network television from commentators that could sway people from getting the vaccine and instead of using this pill.

“The vaccine prevents the transmission, the pill, if it works, really just helps improve the symptoms,” Humble said.

Will Humble, Executive Director, Arizona Public Health Association

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