Pfizer says its COVID-19 pill cuts disease’s worst risks by 89%

Pfizer says that its easy-to-administer Covid-19 pill reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89%, in a clinical trial that tested the drug in adults with the disease who were also in high-risk health groups.

The oral medicine, with the brand name Paxlovid, could secure U.S. regulatory approval by the end of the year. Similar to Merck’s new pill that was approved in the U.K. Pfizer said its drug showed good results when administered within five days of the first COVID-19 symptoms.

These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved or authorized by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, and eliminate up to nine out of ten hospitalizations. If cleared by regulators, it would likely be a game changer in the ongoing global pandemic fight.

Both of the antiviral medicines from Pfizer and Merck attack the coronavirus by interfering with its ability to replicate itself. The drug is part of a class of medicines called protease inhibitors and works by inhibiting an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate in human cells. Protease inhibitors are used to treat other viral pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C. 

Pfizer’s pill is given in combination with an older antiviral called ritonavir, a drug used in HIV/AIDS treatment regimens. It has been in development for nearly two years. Ritonavir helps protease inhibitors like the Pfizer drug persist longer in the human body, making them more effective in fighting a virus.

Officials in both the U.S. and U.K. say that effective COVID-19 pills could be a game-changer in the fight to end the pandemic, because the pills can easily be administered at home. Regeneron’s antibody cocktail has become a key tool in medical workers’ rush to prevent the worst outcomes for people who’ve contracted COVID-19, but the monoclonal antibody treatment requires either an intravenous infusion or a series of shots.

“It has demonstrated potent antiviral in vitro activity against circulating variants of concern, as well as other known coronaviruses, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic for multiple types of coronavirus infections,” the company said as it announced the drug trial results.

Saturday, Nov 6, 2021



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