“Brrrr,” said a shivering Verum. Until today, the blazing sun had heated MysticLand. All the Mysticals drank a lot of water and tried to keep cool. But as last night crept into MysticLand, it brought along a chill. That’s why Verum woke up with her teeth chattering due to the cold.

Scorch went to get her friend a warm sweater while Orak brewed a cup of comforting tea. Verum felt better after wearing a fluffy sweater and sipping the deliciously hot tea. Just then, her crystal ball began making its familiar humming sound.

Verum said, “Let’s see what’s the news for today!”

“Yes, please,” said Felix.

“Merck, a pharmaceutical company (a company that makes medicines), has developed an antiviral pill called molnupiravir,” said Verum, “As per a trial conducted by the company, this medicine can reduce deaths and hospitalizations due to Covid-19 infections by 50%. But this result has to still be reviewed by other scientists in a process called peer-reviewing.”

“That sounds promising,” said Orak, “How is the medicine taken?”

“Orally! You can pop in a pill and swallow it with a glass of water,” said Verum, “As opposed to other Covid-19 medicines, molnupiravir doesn’t need to be administered through an injection or a tube inserted into the patient’s veins.”

“Doesn’t this mean that the pill can be prescribed to patients who are still at home?” said Scorch, “For the other two options, the patient will have to be in a hospital. During the pandemic, crowded hospitals have been a problem. Sometimes, patients couldn’t find beds in hospitals.”

“Yes, you’re right,” said Verum, “Merck has applied for United States (US) emergency clearance of the pill. It has also taken the unusual step of allowing other companies to produce a generic version of the pill. This will make the pill more easily available around the world.”

“That’s a good step, isn’t it?” said Felix.

“It is, but international health officials are worried. You see, about 5% of Africa’s population has been vaccinated but for wealthy countries, this figure is more than 70%,” said Verum, “These officials are worried that a similar situation might happen with molnupiravir.”

“Yeah, that’s a big concern,” said Orak.