TAMPA, Fla. – Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill is expected to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death if taken within the first few days after the onset of infection.
“The good news about the pill in question is that it is available and the pill is Paxlovid, it is a COVID treatment pill,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, Association Professor for USF College of Public Health.
The treatment is now entering phase two and three clinical trials.
It is currently approved for people who are 12 years and older and high risk.
“So to qualify at all, you need to be symptomatic, have a positive COVID test, and have a high risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and death,” Roberts said.
“We think of people who are immunocompromised, those who have comorbidities, those that this drug is actually targeted at,” Roberts said.
FDA too approved Merck’s COVID-19 pill for high-risk patients 18 years and older.
But Pfizer’s new clinical trials seek to make the medicine available to children as young as six, which doctors say is important because treatments for children are very limited.
“Hopefully we will have approval for more individuals and we will see fewer deaths across all age groups,” Roberts said.
While this pill is a great tool to have in the fight against COVID-19, health officials are concerned about one thing.
“The bad news, it’s available in very limited supply. And so I understand that, and I’ve seen several doctors report today that they’re having a hard time getting it, and that some patients need it. , have a really hard time finding it, ”Roberts said.
Biden Administration recently launched its “Test to treat” initiative to help people access the pills.
It allows people to be tested at certain pharmacy-based clinics, and if they test positive and qualify, they receive the antiviral pills at no cost.
It is intended to speed up the process of getting these drugs to high-risk patients.
Health authorities want to warn people, this is not an excuse to fail their guards. Especially because these pills are not yet available to everyone and the virus can leave lasting consequences.
“What we obviously do not want people to do is think ‘I can just forget the vaccine, this pill is available’ certainly not. Get those vaccines,” Roberts said.