LA CROSSE/EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Drug maker Merck has asked U.S regulators to authorize its promising antiviral pill against COVID-19, setting the stage for a decision within weeks.

If cleared by the food and drug administration, it would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19, adding a new, easy-to-use weapon to the world’s arsenal against the pandemic.

The FDA will scrutinize company data on the drug’s safety and effectiveness before rendering a decision.

 All COVID-19 drugs now authorized by the FDA require an IV or injection.