FDA Authorizes Pfizer’s Antiviral COVID-19 Pill

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of a COVID-19 pill developed by pharmaceutical firm Pfizer.

The FDA announced on Wednesday that the antiviral drug Paxlovid can be administered to COVID-19 patients aged 12 or older who are at high risk of developing severe illness.

It said the drug is “available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset.”

Paxlovid is designed to suppress replication of the virus and is taken twice a day for five days.

Pfizer says results from clinical trials show the treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 88 percent when given to high-risk patients within five days of the start of symptoms.

The firm also said an in vitro experiment demonstrated Paxlovid’s potent antiviral activity against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The FDA said the authorization introduces the first US treatment for COVID-19 in pill form. It said that the authorization “provides a new tool to combat COVID-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge.”

Countries are moving to secure the drug. The US government has a contract with Pfizer to purchase 10 million courses of the treatment. The British government has announced it will buy 2.75 million courses.

Pfizer says it will be able to produce 120 million treatment courses by the end of 2022.

Source: FDA authorizes Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 pill | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

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