Pfizer’s ‘staggering’ breakthrough as world’s first Covid-19 pill approved

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised the first oral antiviral treatment for Covid-19. Paxlovid is a pill made by Pfizer.

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised the emergency use of Paxlovid, a pill that can be used to treat Covid-19.

Pfizer said in a press release the drug could be used for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults and paediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40kg).

The company said there had been positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing.

One study showed the pill has nearly 90 per cent efficacy in preventing hospitalisation or death in high-risk patients.

It’s also effective against the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

The pill works by using nirmatrelvir, a novel main protease (Mpro) inhibitor originating in Pfizer’s laboratories. It was specifically designed to block the activity of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro, an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate.

“It’s a stunning outcome,” Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten told Reuters in an interview.

“We’re talking about a staggering number of lives saved and hospitalisations prevented. And of course, if you deploy this quickly after infection, we are likely to reduce transmission dramatically.”

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said, “Today’s authorisation of Paxlovid represents another tremendous example of how science will help us ultimately defeat this pandemic, which, even two years in, continues to disrupt and devastate lives across the world.

“This breakthrough therapy, which has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalisations and deaths and can be taken at home, will change the way we treat Covid-19, and hopefully help reduce some of the significant pressures facing our healthcare and hospital systems.

“Pfizer stands ready to begin delivery in the US immediately to help get Paxlovid into the hands of appropriate patients as quickly as possible.”

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