Pharmaceutical company Pfizer is awaiting US FDA approval for its stockpile of COVID-19 pills, which can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 89%.
On a positive note, President Joe Biden’s administration has said that once COVID-19 pills are approved, they will be readily available and free.
Pfizer COVID-19 Pills Stock
According to some anonymous people familiar with the matter, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill called the Paxlovid tablet later this week. The same goes for its rival COVID-19 pill from Merck, although they both aim to treat COVID-19 infection, per Bloomberg.
For those unfamiliar with Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill, Cnet reported that Nirmatrelvir – also known as Paxlovid – works by preventing the action of the SARS-CoV-2-3CL protease, an enzyme necessary for the coronavirus to reproduce.
What’s more, Pfizer noted in its press release that this COVID-19 pill can reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% when given within three days of symptom onset. Other than that, it would be most effective when combined with ritonavir, an HIV drug, according to Cnet.
Ritonavir makes the drug work longer in the body and allows it to be used in larger doses.
Once Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill stocks are cleared, two 150 mg pills would be given at the first sign of symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result and said drug would last for five days.
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Effectiveness of the COVID-19 pill
In terms of effectiveness, Pfizer said the pill is effective against the COVID-19 variations of concern, such as Delta and the newer strain Omicron.
According to the pharmaceutical manufacturer, the documented side effects between those using Paxlovid and those receiving a placebo were almost the same throughout clinical studies.
On top of that, the biotech company said the COVID-19 pill did not result in any deaths during Pfizer’s trial; however, placebo treatment resulted in 12 deaths.
On the other hand, Mikael Dolsten, Scientific Director of Pfizer, commented that the clinical trial result was surprising.
“We are talking about a large number of lives saved and hospitalizations averted here. Of course, if you deploy it immediately after infection, we will see a significant reduction in transmission,” he added. Dolsten added in CNBC interview.
COVID-19 pill price: is it free?
In the press release issued by the White HousePresident Joe Biden said Pfizer’s antiviral drugs would be “readily available and free” since the administration has already purchased 10 million treatments that cost $ 5.29 billion.
In addition, the government has ordered 1.7 million antiviral treatments from Merck, molnupiravir, to be used when the FDA approves it.
It only means that many people should not be worried about the cost of the COVID-19 pill since it will be offered for free.
COVID-19 pill release date
Cnet added that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that they applied for an emergency use authorization for its antiviral drug from the FDA in November, and it expects a decision by the end of 2021.
“We have already transported the products to the United States, so [it] will be accessible this month if allowed, “according to Bourla via Cnet.
Meanwhile, Dolsten added that Pfizer would be able to export 180,000 treatment courses this year, with plans to create at least 80 million more in 2022.
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