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Egypt Approves Merck COVID Pill, Says to Be Produced Locally

Egypt Approves Merck COVID Pill, Says to Be Produced Locally

Tuesday, 25 January, 2022 - 07:30
People are seen, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Cairo, Egypt January 5, 2021. (Reuters)

Egypt approved Merck & Co’s COVID-19 pill Molnupiravir for emergency use, the country’s drug authority said on Monday, adding that the pill would be locally produced.

The drug will initially be manufactured by five local companies, to be joined later by several other firms, the Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) said in a statement.

Molnupiravir is the first antiviral pill licensed for treating COVID-19 patients who are at high risk of developing severe disease and reducing the risk of getting hospitalized by the half.

It will only be allowed inside hospitals to make sure it is taken under full medical supervision and in accordance with the standards set by the relevant scientific committees to ensure continuous therapeutic follow-up, the EDA said in its statement.

Egypt has become the first country in the Middle East to issue an emergency use license for a medicine.

Separately, five-year old children are now eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine as authorities expand the vaccination campaign to reach all age groups.

Health Ministry Spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar noted an increase in the COVID-19 cases in Egypt, urging people to receive the vaccine and to abide by the preventative precautions.

Egypt reported 1,603 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, upping the total since the beginning of the outbreak to 410,098.

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