Mark Lennihan / AP
Pfizer says its 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 medication 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 strength of the trial’s results, Pfizer said it would stop signing people for further clinical trials for the pill and instead send the results so far to the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, in order to apply for an emergency use authorization.
“These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved or cleared by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patient lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, and eliminate up to nine in ten hospitalizations, ”said the CEO of Pfizer. said President Albert Bourla.
The two antiviral drugs from Pfizer and Merck attack the coronavirus by interfering with its ability to replicate.
Pfizer claims its pill is also made easier by co-administering a low dose of ritonavir, a drug used in HIV / AIDS treatment regimens. Ritonavir helps protease inhibitors like the drug Pfizer persist longer in the human body, making them more effective in fighting a virus.
Officials in the US and UK say effective COVID-19 pills could be a game-changer in the fight to end the pandemic, as the pills can easily be administered at home. Regeneron’s antibody cocktail has become a key tool in rushing medical workers to prevent worse outcomes for people who have contracted COVID-19, but monoclonal antibody treatment requires either an intravenous drip or a series of strokes. of fire.
Pfizer says its drug could be prescribed to reduce the severity of illness in COVID patients, as well as to reduce the chances of adults becoming infected after being exposed to the coronavirus.
“It has demonstrated potent antiviral activity in vitro against circulating variants of concern, as well as other known coronaviruses, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic for several types of coronavirus infections,” the company said on the announcement drug test results.