In a significant development, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency authorisation to oral pill against COVID-19. Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill, called Paxlovid, is the first oral antiviral treatment that will help in the fight against the coronavirus. This is a more convenient treatment option for coronavirus patients and comes at a time when several countries are bracing for the probably third wave. The drug is expected to become a potent weapon in the fight against COVID-19.
“This authorization provides a new tool to combat Covid-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge,” Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, was quoted as saying in a statement.
How effective Paxlovid is?
According to Pfizer, the oral drug can reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by around 89 per cent when administered to the patient within three days of symptoms.
The pill developed by Pfizer is a combination of two medications. While the one is existing antiviral ritonavir, the second is the newly developed drug nirmatrelvir – also known as PF-07321332. The antivirals, when combined together, work as a protease inhibitor and disrupt the replication of the coronavirus in those infected with it.
Effective against Omicron
As per the data available, the pill is effective against the new omicron variant. Reports suggest that it can reduce the risk of severe reaction by 88 per cent if given within five days of showing symptoms. This is up from an 85 per cent efficacy rate which was reported in an interim analysis done in the month of November.
Health experts hope that that the oral pill developed by Pfizer will change the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are of the opinion that it can save a significant number of lives. At the same time, doctors have warned that vaccines remain the first line of defense against COVID-19 and therefore it should not be replaced by any therapeutic pills.