AN IRISH pharmaceutical company are in "advanced stages" of producing a tablet that stops the spreads of the Covid-19.
MSD Pharmaceutical, otherwise known as Merck & Co. in the US and Canada, is reportedly on the verge of producing this new pill-form treatment for coronavirus after it passed a number of successful tests.
The company has extensive operations in Ireland, with sites in Dublin, Cork, Carlow, Tipperary and Meath.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is understood to have told his Fine Gael colleagues about the developments during a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening.
The drug is understood to be Molnupiravir, which is taken orally and works by triggering errors in the coronavirus' RNA (a type of genetic material similar to DNA) during replication.
This, in turn, reduces its ability to duplicate and make more viruses, which means those infected will suffer a less severe illness, and are less likely to pass the virus on to others.
The treatment is currently in stage 2/3 trials with the first results on effectiveness expected between January and March this year, according to the Daily Mail.
It was initially developed to fight influenza, but has now been modified to tackle Covid-19.
It likely won't clear stage 2/3 trials until May at the very earliest, meaning it's unlikely to be available until the latter half of the year.
It could, however, represent a significant boost in the fight against the virus, as tablet forms of disease prevention are far easier to transport and administer than inoculations.
And, unlike the majority of jabs, you won't need to have multiple doses.