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A Merck pill used to combat Covid-19 failed to demonstrate it can lower the risk of hospitalization compared with a placebo among adults at a higher risk from the disease, according to the results of a large study conducted in the U.K.

The preliminary results of the randomized trial, which involved more than 25,000 participants, showed that taking molnupiravir did speed time to recovery by about six days, which means that patients did get some relief. Otherwise, though, the study failed to reach an outcome that had been used late last year by regulators — such as those in the U.S. and U.K. — to authorize the medicine to thwart the pandemic.

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