Pfizer says its COVID-19 pill reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89%, in a clinical trial that tested the drug in adults with the disease who were also in high-risk groups.
The oral drug is called Paxlovid. Like Merck’s new pill that was approved in the UK on Thursday, Pfizer said the drug showed good results when given within five days of the first COVID-19 symptoms.
Based on the results of the trial, Pfizer says it will stop enrolling people in more clinical trials of the pill and will instead send the results it has so far to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval. request emergency use.
“These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved or authorized by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections and eliminate up to nine out of 10 hospitalizations,” CEO of Pfizer and said chairman Albert Bourla.
Both Pfizer and Merck antiviral drugs attack the coronavirus by interfering with its ability to replicate itself.
Pfizer says its pill is also helped by co-administration of low-dose ritonavir, a drug used in HIV/AIDS treatment regimens. Ritonavir helps protease inhibitors like the Pfizer drug stay in the human body longer, making them more effective at fighting a virus.
Officials in both the US and UK say effective COVID-19 pills could be a game-changer in the fight to end the pandemic, as the pills can be easily administered at home. Regeneron’s antibody cocktail has become an important tool in the rush of medical personnel to prevent the worst outcomes for people who have contracted COVID-19, but monoclonal antibody treatment requires either an intravenous infusion or a series of injections.
Pfizer says the drug may be prescribed to reduce the severity of the illness in COVID-19 patients and to reduce the chances of adults becoming infected after being exposed to the coronavirus.
“It has demonstrated potent in vitro antiviral activity against circulating variants of concern, as well as other known coronaviruses, suggesting it has the potential to be a therapeutic agent for multiple types of coronavirus infections,” the company said when announcing the results of the drug trial.