In what could be a game changer in the fight against COVID-19, interim clinical trial results for an antiviral pill to treat the illness show it cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by about half. Drug maker Merck, known as MSD outside the United States, and its partner Ridgeback, say they plan to soon apply for emergency use authorization for the drug. The tablet - molnupiravir – is given to patients recently diagnosed with the disease. The trial was conducted in 170 medical centers around the world, including in Israel, where it was overseen by Prof. Yossi Karko, head of the clinical pharmacology unit at Hadassah University Medical Center. Karko, who is also leading development of the Israeli coronavirus vaccine, spoke to KAN reporter Naomi Segal.