Health

Pfizer’s New Covid-19 Antiviral Pill Could Cut Severe Illness by 89%

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From new booster shots to vaccines for kids and teens, we’ve gotten a lot of good news recently as we continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Now pharmaceutical provider Pfizer has another important update: Results show that the new Covid-19 antiviral pill it’s working on isn’t just effective — it could save people’s lives.

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While vaccinations are incredibly important for preventing and containing the spread of Covid-19, scientists have been working hard to also find ways to help people once they’ve contracted the virus and are beginning to show symptoms. Pfizer’s pill is in the trial phase and doesn’t yet have a name, but early tests show that it lowers hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 by up to 89 percent in high-risk populations. More specifically, the pill is most effective when combined with a low dose of a common HIV drug called ritonavir.

“These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved 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,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive officer, told the press in a statement. “The availability of an oral antiviral that can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in high risk patients by 89 percent will have a major impact on how we treat Covid-19.”

If approved, the pill will be the second antiviral going through approval stages after Merck’s molnupiravir, which can reportedly cut the risk of hospitalization or death from Covid-19 by half. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is discussing Merck’s trial results at the end of November, and it looks like Pfizer’s pill could follow shortly. The more products on the market, the better for the millions of people who’ve contracted the virus and are dealing with symptoms. It’s a win for all of us!

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