US FDA Approves 1st Oral Pill By Pfizer To Treat Covid


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the Pfizer antiviral pill to treat Covid-19 along with caution for people with certain pre-existing conditions foreshadowing a new era for the future, over-the-counter treatment of the deadly respiratory disease that has killed millions.

According to the reports, Pfizer’s Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets, co-packaged for oral use) has been approved for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in adults and paediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 testing. The pill has also been approved for those at high risk for progression to severe Covid-19, including hospitalisation or death.

Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of Covid-19 and within five days of symptom onset. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research stated that the authorisation introduces the first treatment for Covid-19 that is in the form of a pill that is taken orally — a major step forward in the fight against this global pandemic. This authorisation provides a new tool to combat Covid-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge and promises to make antiviral treatment more accessible to patients who are at high risk for progression to severe Covid-19.

Paxlovid consists of nirmatrelvir, which inhibits a SARS-CoV-2 protein to stop the virus from replicating, and ritonavir, which slows down nirmatrelvir’s breakdown to help it remain in the body for a longer period at higher concentrations. Paxlovid is administered as three tablets (two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir) taken together orally twice daily for five days, for a total of 30 tablets.

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