What is fluvoxamine, the antidepressant drug that shows promise in treating covid-19?

An electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in 2020. (NIAID-RML/AP)

A common antidepressant medication often used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder may join a growing arsenal of covid-19 treatments after it showed promise in reducing hospitalizations and deaths from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

U.S. coronavirus cases tracker and map

Because it has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for mental health treatment, doctors can begin to prescribe it under certain parameters. The relatively modest cost means it could be highly beneficial in parts of the world with low vaccination rates and few resources.

Here’s what you need to know.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant. Here’s some guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

Variants: Instead of a single new Greek letter variant, a group of immune-evading omicron spinoffs are popping up all over the world. Any dominant variant will likely knock out monoclonal antibodies, targeted drugs that can be used as a treatment or to protect immunocompromised people.

Tripledemic: Hospitals are overwhelmed by a combination of respiratory illnesses, staffing shortages and nursing home closures. And experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months. Here’s how to tell the difference between RSV, the flu and covid-19.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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