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COVID Pills Show Promise for Combating Severe Infection

January 12, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
COVID Pills Show Promise for Combating Severe Infection

Pfizer’s Paxlovid is the first pill treatment to combat severe COVID-19 infection, and new figures from Israel’s Ministry of Health show the pill may hold promise in saving lives.

Shortly before Christmas Day, Paxlovid was authorized for at-home treatment of high-risk COVID-19 infections in patients over the age of 12 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA granted emergency approval for the treatment, as did Israel’s Ministry of Health, based on Pfizer’s results from a trial of 2,250 patients showing the pill cut hospitalizations and deaths by 89% when given to those with mild to moderate COVID-19 within three days of symptoms. 

The results from the 30-day clinical trial from Pfizer also showed that less than 1% of patients taking the drug were hospitalized and none died when compared to 6.5% of patients who were hospitalized and nine deaths in those who received a placebo.

On Sunday, health officials in Israel administered the first coronavirus pills to two at-risk patients with COVID-19 infections after the first shipment of an estimated 20,000 doses of Pfizer pills arrived in the country the week prior. 

So far, estimates from Pfizer show costs for the pill at about $530.00 per patient treatment, and Pfizer has said that 250,000 treatments should be available in the U.S. by the end of January. 

Merck also has a pill, Molnupiravir, that is pending authorization for use in the U.S. The Pfizer pill has shown fewer side effects and greater efficacy than Merck’s pill, with a nearly 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths.

Alexa can be reached at [email protected]

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