Mark Lennihan / AP
Pfizer says its COVID-19 pill reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in a clinical trial testing the drug in adults with the disease who were also in high-risk health groups.
The oral medicine is called paxlovid. Similar to Merck’s new pill that was approved in the UK on Thursday, Pfizer said its drug showed good results when given within the first five days of the first symptoms of COVID-19.
Based on the results of the study, Pfizer says it will no longer include further clinical trials for the pill and will instead send the results so far to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval.
“These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved or approved by regulators, has the potential to save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, and up to nine in ten Avoid hospitalization, ”said Pfizer CEO and said chairman Albert Bourla.
Both Pfizer and Merck antiviral drugs attack the coronavirus by interfering with its ability to self-replicate.
Pfizer says its pill also helps by giving a low dose of ritonavir, a drug used in HIV / AIDS treatment, at the same time. Ritonavir helps protease inhibitors like the Pfizer drug stay in the human body longer, which makes them more effective at fighting a virus.
Officials in both the US and UK say effective COVID-19 pills could be a tipping point in the fight to end the pandemic, as the pills can be easily administered at home. Regeneron’s antibody cocktail has become a key tool in the rush of medical staff to prevent the worst outcomes for people infected with COVID-19, but treatment with monoclonal antibodies requires either an intravenous infusion or a series of syringes.
Pfizer says its drug could be prescribed to reduce the severity of illness in COVID patients and reduce the likelihood of adults becoming infected after exposure to the coronavirus.
“It has shown strong in vitro antiviral activity against circulating worrying variants as well as other known coronaviruses, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic for several types of coronavirus infections,” the company said when it announced the results of the drug study.