'A historic day': Britain becomes first country to authorize Merck's COVID-19 pill

Merck building.
(Image credit: Marko Georgiev/Getty Images)

In what's being lauded as "a big step forward" in the fight against the ongoining coronavirus pandemic, drug regulators in Britain on Thursday approved drug company Merck's experimental COVID-19 treatment, making the U.K. the first country in the world to authorize the oral antiviral pill, The Washington Post and Reuters report.

British health secretary Sajid Javid decreed Thursday "a historic day" for his country, adding that the drug's approval "will be a game changer for the most vulnerable and the immunosuppressed, who will soon be able to receive the groundbreaking treatment," per The New York Times.

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