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Merck says Covid-19 pill is likely effective against variants

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Yahoo Finance's Anajalee Khemlani discusses Merck's latest research showing its Covid-19 pill works against the virus.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: We are getting some promising new results out of Merck today. studies showing the drug maker's antiviral drug is likely to be effective against COVID-19 variants. Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani for more on the study. Anjalee.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Thanks, Akiko. Yeah, Merck just let us know that they are looking at promising results from their oral antiviral against COVID-19 and specifically against the delta variant, which we know is now the dominant variant in the country and, really, in the world. There are others in line as well. It's important to note that this is sort of a developing area of the COVID-19 response as it relates to the drug industry. Pfizer also let us know recently that they are just starting their look at a possible oral pill as well-- oral drug as well.

And this is something that's been really interesting because it's been something that experts have, since the beginning of the pandemic, said is key to really helping with the response because we currently have not that many options when it comes to treatments. And that's been something that's been heavily criticized when it comes to experts. There's only one approved drug right now. And that, of course, is Gilead's Remdesivir. But that is not in pill form, even though they are working on that right now. Their drug is only allowed to be delivered intravenously.

And so this is really seen as a key, especially when we're looking out at possibly having the coronavirus with us for quite some time and continuing throughout the year. This could be really key to avoiding some of the issues that we see right now, especially when it comes to filling that gap for vaccines and where people don't want to get them. So it's a really important development.

AKIKO FUJITA: And Anjalee, we're also getting some developments on city-wide vaccine mandates. Of course, we've got one here in New York City, but LA looking at one that could be the strictest one in the country. How is it different from what other cities have moved forward with so far?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, so far, what we've seen is a proof of at least one shot, to your point of that's what we've seen here in New York City. Meanwhile, LA is looking at fully vaccinated. And that currently is two doses of an mRNA vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson. It's important to note that those are the requirements right now.

There, of course, is that underlying discussion of what fully vaccinated could mean in the future, especially as we're now seeing boosters. It could end up being that they are three and two doses-- would consider fully vaccinated, as we've seen happen over in Israel. So keep that in mind. But for right now, it's going to be two doses of the mRNA vaccines or one of that Johnson & Johnson shot to qualify as fully vaccinated. And that, like you said, strictest in the country. Most likely, we'll see a lot more follow through.

ZACK GUZMAN: Anjalee Khemlani bringing us the latest there on the COVID front.