WHO says seeks more data from Merck on COVID anti-viral, from Bharat on vaccine

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FILE PHOTO: A handout photo of an experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that it was seeking further data from Merck on its experimental new antiviral COVID-19 pill and hoped to issue guidance in coming weeks regarding its use for mild and moderate cases.

"This is a drug that we are currently evaluating and we met with Merck on Friday to discuss data from their current clinical trials that are under way in other countries," WHO expert Maria van Kerkhove told a news conference where she was asked about Merck's molnupiravir, developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

"So we hope to have some good news there in the coming weeks."

Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant-director, said that WHO hoped to reach a decision on possible emergency use listing for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine at a Nov. 3 meeting after asking the Indian company this week for more clinical data.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich)

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