Merck & Co. and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP said their experimental Covid-19 pill helped prevent high-risk people early in the course of the disease in a pivotal study from becoming seriously ill and dying, a big step toward providing the pandemic’s first easy-to-use, at-home treatment.

The pill cut the risk of hospitalization or death in study subjects with mild to moderate Covid-19 by about 50%, the companies said Friday.

 

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