CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – Adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms will be the first to get a crack at being treated with an antiviral pill as supplies are now available at StarMed Healthcare in Charlotte, the practice announced Wednesday.

The antiviral pill, manufactured by Merck and Rideback Biotherapeutics, is named molnupiravir.

“We are excited to offer this treatment that can decrease the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and lessen the chance of hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Arin Piramzadian, StarMed’s Healthcare’s chief medical officer. “We look forward to helping patients who have tested positive and can benefit from this pill treatment. But this isn’t a substitute for a COVID-19 vaccination, which is still your best defense against the virus.”

StarMed will begin offering the pill at its West Charlotte location to those 18 and older as soon as the FDA names an official start date, its website said.

The new pill treatment works like most antiviral drugs by inhibiting the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to replicate, a news release said. Until now, COVID-19 treatments required infusion, where a patient had to visit a hospital, but now the pill offers a quicker and easier way to reduce hospitalization numbers.