MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Researchers want to know if a pill could stop you from getting COVID-19. Mesa doctors are starting a trial this week, testing a medicine they say could be a gamechanger in this pandemic.

"Molnupiravir is an anti-viral that directly impacts the replication of the SARS-CoV-2, preventing it from replicating, and therefore bringing down viral levels in the body," said Infectious Disease Doctor Anita Kohli, one of the lead investigators for the molnupiravir trials in Mesa and Tucson.


Researchers worldwide want to know if that means it can help COVID-19 patients get better quicker and keep them out of the hospital. Dr. Kohli also hopes the drug can keep people from getting COVID-19 altogether after being exposed to the virus.

"The study works in that if you have been exposed to COVID-19 within the last five days, and someone that you're living with has tested positive within the last three days, you're able to come in," said Dr. Kohli. She needs unvaccinated participants who will get the medicine or a placebo.

"We've had a lot of great data from other drugs that suggest prophylaxis, meaning people who are exposed to COVID-19, taking medicines could actually prevent them from getting infected," said Dr. Kohli. "I am hopeful, although always cautiously optimistic, about new medicines being able to address this disease."

She said the pills could potentially be a treatment you get from your pharmacy and take from home. "It would certainly be a good step forward if it does work," said Dr. Kohli. "It is an oral pill taken twice a day. These are medicines that are easier to administer." Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck are collaborating on the development of molnupiravir. You can find out more about the trial here.

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