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Coronavirus

Shionogi's new COVID pill appears to ease omicron symptoms

Japanese drugmaker's treatment raises hopes of limiting hospitalizations

The Japanese pharmaceutical maker began clinical trails of its COVID treatment pill in September. (Photo courtesy of Shionogi)

TOKYO -- Japanese drugmaker Shionogi said Monday that preliminary laboratory studies suggest its COVID-19 tablet inhibits the severity of infections from the highly transmissible omicron variant, providing optimism that the low-cost treatment may help prevent a surge in hospitalizations.

The antiviral pill for people at the early stage of infection is designed to prevent severe illness and reduce symptoms such as fever and cough. The tablet blocks the function of an enzyme called a protease, slowing the spread of the virus.

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