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WHO says it awaits full data from Merck on antiviral pill

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GENEVA, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization is awaiting full clinical data on the antiviral pill made by Merck & Co Inc to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients, a WHO spokesperson said on Tuesday, a day after the company said it had applied for U.S. emergency use authorisation.

WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier, asked at a U.N. briefing in Geneva about the drug, said: "Indeed, this is an interesting development. We would have to see the full data about it. If it holds true, then it is another weapon in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic."

The treatment, molnupiravir, cut the rate of hospitalisation and death by 50% in a trial of mild-to-moderately ill patients who had at least one risk factor for the disease, according to data released this month. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Kevin Liffey)