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: China COVID cases could double next month, as Merck antiviral gets approval

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China’s health service on Friday approved an antiviral to treat COVID-19 as one health company estimates the country will see a doubling of its current wave of cases.

China’s National Medical Products Administration said it’s given emergency approval to the Molnupiravir antiviral from Merck
MRK,
-0.23%
.
China has already approved the Paxlovid antiviral made by Merck rival Pfizer
PFE,
+1.04%
,
which is reportedly in short supply.

The U.K. health firm Airfinity estimates that daily Chinese COVID-19 infections will peak in the middle of January, at 3.7 million, from a current 1.8 million. Another wave will then occur in March, where cases will reach 4.2 million per day, Airfinity estimates. The Airfinity numbers are far higher than official estimates.

Deaths will total 1.7 million by the end of April 2023, from 100,000 now, Airfinity said.

The Airfinity model is based on data from China’s regional provinces along with case growth in other former zero-COVID countries such as Hong Kong and Japan.

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