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And so, another working week will soon draw to a close. Not a moment too soon, yes? This is, you may recall, our treasured signal to daydream about weekend plans. Our agenda, once again, is rather modest. We plan to check in on the Pharmalot ancestors, catch up on some reading, and watch some footie on the telly. And how about you? This remains a fine time to enjoy the great outdoors — leaves are turning colors, apples are dangling from orchards, and pumpkins are growing lonely in their patches waiting for visitors. You could boost the economy by purchasing a sweater or two. Or maybe convince someone to get vaccinated. Well, whatever you do, have a grand time. But be safe. Enjoy, and see you soon. …

An experimental antiviral pill reduced the chances that patients newly diagnosed with Covid-19 would be hospitalized by about 50%, a finding that could give doctors a desperately needed new way to treat the sick, STAT explains. A five-day course of molnupiravir, developed by Merck (MRK) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, reduced both hospitalization and death compared to a placebo. In the placebo group, 53 patients, or 14.1%, were hospitalized or died. For those who received the drug, 28, or 7.3%, were hospitalized or died. A simple oral medication to help treat Covid-19 has been an elusive goal since the start of the pandemic.

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