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Top of the morning to you, and a fine one it is. A shiny sun and clear skies are enveloping the Pharmalot campus, where the official mascot is contentedly snoozing in a corner and street life is buzzing nearby. As for us, we are engaged in our usual ritual of brewing cups of stimulation, which we need more than ever since we have some upcoming chats with public radio types. Wish us luck. The flavor today, by the way, is glazed doughnut. Yum. Meanwhile, here are some tidbits to get you going. Hope your day is successful and you conquer the world. …

A panel of experts convened by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted by a slim margin to recommend the agency authorize the Covid treatment developed by Merck (MRK) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, after a vigorous debate about the risks and benefits of the first oral drug to combat the coronavirus, STAT writes. The panel voted 13-10 that the pill, called molnupiravir, should be authorized, although members expressed concerns that, if used in pregnancy it could cause birth defects. Discussions frequently turned to whether or not panelists trusted the effectiveness data on the drug, even when they were talking about other topics.

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