A promising COVID-19 pill is nearing full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Paxlovid, developed by Pfizer, has been recommended by a panel of expert advisers for use as a treatment for adults with COVID-19 who are at high risk for severe illness. The drug has been available under emergency use authorization, and the panel’s endorsement is expected to lead to full approval soon.
The panel’s decision came after the FDA released a new analysis showing that Paxlovid reduces hospitalizations and deaths among both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Based on COVID-19 rates in January, the drug could save 1,500 lives and prevent 13,000 hospitalizations per week in the United States. The vote in favor of Paxlovid was 16-1.
Currently, only one antiviral drug, Remdesivir, has full FDA approval for COVID-19 treatment. However, its use is limited, as patients need to visit a clinic for infusions three days in a row. In contrast, Paxlovid is a pill that can be taken at home over five days.
Representatives from Pfizer announced that the company is continuing to study the drug in immunocompromised or pregnant patients, as well as for the prevention of long-term COVID-19.
The pill is the first to cut short the positive test time after infection and reduce symptoms. The effectiveness of the drug has been studied in clinical trials, with positive results reported in terms of symptom relief and a reduction in the time it takes for patients to test negative for COVID-19.
The availability of Paxlovid as a treatment option will be a significant development in the fight against COVID-19, especially for individuals who are at high risk for severe illness. The drug’s approval will also provide more flexibility in treating COVID-19 patients, as it can be taken at home, reducing the burden on healthcare facilities.
The FDA’s advisory committee’s endorsement of Paxlovid is a significant step towards the drug’s full approval as a COVID-19 treatment. The drug’s availability will provide more options for treating the disease and could save thousands of lives each week.
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