Drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. sees potential U.S. emergency use authorization for the company’s experimental Covid-19 antiviral treatment, molnupiravir, before year-end 2021.

Merck & Co. and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said on Wednesday they had begun enrolling patients in a late-stage trial of their experimental drug molnupiravir for the prevention of Covid-19 infection.

Merck & Co. Inc. said on June 9 the U.S. government agreed to pay about $1.2 billion for 1.7 million courses of the company’s experimental Covid-19 treatment, if the oral antiviral drug molnupiravir is proven to work in an ongoing large trial and authorized by U.S. regulators.

U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co. joined Gilead Sciences Inc. on April 27 in lending support to India as the world’s second-most populous country scrambles to address drug shortages and bring a raging new wave of Covid-19 cases under control.

Merck & Co. Inc. said on April 27 the company had partnered with five Indian generic drugmakers, including Cipla Ltd. and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., to expand production and access to the experimental Covid-19 drug molnupiravir.

U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. said on March 6 the experimental antiviral drug molnupiravir the company is developing with Ridgeback Bio showed a quicker reduction in infectious virus in its phase 2a study among participants with early Covid-19.