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Federal health regulators say an experimental COVID-19 pill from Merck is effective against the virus, but they want more input on birth defec…

AP
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FILE - This undated file image provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication. U.S. health officials say Merck's experimental COVID-19 pill is effective but raises safety issues for pregnant women. The Food and Drug Administration posted its review Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 ahead of a public meeting next week where outside experts will debate the drug's benefits and risks. (Merck & Co. via AP, File)

AP
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FILE - This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Pfizer says its experimental pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% among patients with mild-to-moderate infections. The company announced Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 it will soon ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and international regulators to authorize its pill, which is taken twice a day for five days. (NIAID-RML via AP)