COVID-19 treatment pills not yet studied in children – Community News
Covid-19

COVID-19 treatment pills not yet studied in children

Pfizer and Merck have developed pills to treat adults with COVID-19. But the drugs have not yet been studied in children.

Nate Hanson, Mauricio Chamberlin, Brandon Lewis

09:17 CET December 8, 2021

09:17 CET December 8, 2021



Pfizer and Merck have developed pills to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Both drug manufacturers have filed for emergency use with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The pills are intended to treat people already infected with COVID-19, not as a vaccine replacement.

Viewer Sandra emailed the VERIFY team asking if Merck or Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pills can be given to children.

THE QUESTION

Are Merck and Pfizer’s COVID-19 Treatment Pills Currently for Children?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is wrong.

No, Merck and Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pills are not currently for children.

WHAT WE FOUND

Merck and Pfizer studied their COVID-19 pills in trials similar to how the vaccines were developed.

A study of Merck’s pills found that they reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 30% in high-risk unvaccinated volunteers. Pfizer said that in clinical studies, people who started pill treatment within three days of showing symptoms had an 89% lower risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization or death compared to people who received a placebo.

But the effectiveness of those pill treatments has only been studied in adults — not children. Therefore, the FDA can only consider approving the pills for adults.

Researchers often start with adults and then work backwards to study drugs on children, according to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a Los Angeles health care organization.

“Trials for children require special ethical and clinical considerations and must meet a higher standard before they can recruit participants,” said Dr. Moshe Arditi, Academic Director of the Department of Allergy and Immunology for Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Cedars-Sinai.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the FDA note that children are not “little adults.” Therefore, making a drug that is safe and effective for children is not as simple as lowering the dosage.

“Their bodies work in very different ways and they often go through a lot of changes as they grow from childhood through adolescence and adulthood,” the WHO said. “Because their bodies work differently, it’s important to create child-specific drugs and treatments rather than just adjusting doses and therapies for adults.”

It is not known when pills for the treatment of COVID-19 will be available for children. Pfizer told VERIFY via email that it has not yet set a timeline to begin studying a pill treatment for children.

More from VERIFY: No, Pfizer’s COVID-19 Pill treatment is not a vaccine replacement

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, SMS alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Find out more”

follow us

Want something VERIFIED?

Text: 202-410-8808


About the author

Rakesh

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment