Pfizer, known for creating their Covid-19 vaccine, has developed a pill which has reduced hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients by 89%. Pfizer is no longer accepting new patients for trials, and is planning to submit their findings for an emergency use authorization soon.
President Joe Biden said at the White House, “We’ve already secured millions of doses and the therapy would be another tool in our toolbox to protect people.”
Pfizer’s pill is designed to be taken at home within the first signs of symptoms. In their trial of over 1,200 unvaccinated adults, five days of treatment with the drug reduced the rate of hospitalization when treatment was started within three to five days of symptoms appearing. The drug, named Paxlovid, works in a similar way to some HIV medication. It, “binds to an enzyme called a protease to stop the virus from replicating itself.”
Less than 1% of the people who started treatment within three days of symptoms ended up in the hospital, with zero deaths. Pfizer said the results of the study, which have not yet been published in any medical journals, are significant.
Annaliesa Anderson, chief scientific officer for Pfizer’s hospitals business unit, said “We are really over the moon that we did see such high efficacy in this study. It has tremendous implications for patients globally.”
In addition to the high risk study, the pharmaceutical company is also studying the effect of the drug in standard risk situations. In a third large trial, Pfizer is testing the drug as a prophylactic medicine for people who live with someone who has contracted Covid. The hopes of the trial being that someone could take the drug to avoid contracting the virus.
“A Pfizer spokesperson said the company currently expects to produce more than 180,000 packs of the drug by the end of this year, and anticipates making at least 50 million packs by the end of 2022, with 21 million produced in the first half of the year.”
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