Oct. 28, 2021, 6:31 a.m. EDT

Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 245 million and study finds cheap antidepressant has promise as treatment

The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness climbed above 245 million on Thursday, while the death toll edged above 4.97 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University . The U.S. continues to lead the world with a total of 45.7 million cases and 741,235 deaths. The U.S. is averaging about 1,400 deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, although cases and hospitalizations are declining. A cheap antidepressant reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19 in a study hunting for existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat coronavirus, the Associated Press reported. Researchers tested the pill used for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder because it was known to reduce inflammation and looked promising in smaller studies. They've shared the results with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which publishes treatment guidelines, and they hope for World Health Organization backing. The pill, called fluvoxamine, would cost $4 for a course of COVID-19 treatment. By comparison, antibody IV treatments cost about $2,000 and Merck's (NYS:MRK) experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 is about $700 per course. India is second by cases after the U.S. at 34.2 million and has suffered 456,386 deaths. Brazil has second highest death toll at 606,679 and 21.7 million cases. In Europe, Russia has the most fatalities at 230,786 deaths, followed by the U.K. at 140,462.

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