A planned interim analysis of the data last month showed that 7.3 per cent of those given molnupiravir twice a day for five days were hospitalised and none had died by 29 days after the treatment. That compared with a hospitalisation rate of 14.1 per cent for placebo patients.
In the updated data, 6.8 per cent of those given molnupiravir were hospitalised and one person died, while the other placebo group had a hospitalisation rate of 9.7 per cent.
So far, the UK is the only country to grant a conditional authorisation to Merck’s Covid pill.
The company said the data on the drug molnupiravir, developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, had been submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration ahead of a meeting of its expert advisers on Tuesday.
Molnupiravir is also pending review at regulators in Europe and other countries.
The company has also agreed to allow other drugmakers to make its pill, in a move aimed at helping millions of people in poorer countries get access.