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Pfizer Says New COVID19 Pill Cuts Hospitalizations and Death Risks By 90%

Pfizer Says New COVID19 Pill Cuts Hospitalizations and Death Risks By 90%

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic last year, researchers worldwide have been racing to find a pill to treat COVID-19 that can be taken at home to ease symptoms, speed recovery, and keep people out of the hospital. Now Pfizer Inc. has announced that their experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% in high-risk adults, as the drugmaker joined the race for an easy-to-use medication to treat the coronavirus.

Currently, most COVID-19 treatments require an IV or injection. Competitor Merck’s COVID-19 pill is already under review at the Food and Drug Administration after showing strong initial results, and on Thursday the United Kingdom became the first country to OK it.

COVID-19 Coronavirus molecule, March 24, 2020. (Photo by CDC/API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Pfizer also released preliminary results of its study of 775 adults on Friday, which showed patients who received the company’s drug along with another antiviral shortly after showing COVID-19 symptoms had an 89% reduction in their combined rate of hospitalization or death after a month, compared to patients taking a placebo. Fewer than 1% of patients taking the drug needed to be hospitalized and no one died. In the comparison group, 7% were hospitalized and there were seven deaths.

Study participants were unvaccinated, with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, and were considered high risk for hospitalization due to health problems like obesity, diabetes, or heart disease. Treatment began within three to five days of initial symptoms and lasted for five days. Patients who received the drug earlier showed slightly better results, underscoring the need for faster testing and treatment.

 

Pfizer said it will ask the FDA and international regulators to authorize its pill as soon as possible, after independent experts recommended halting the company’s study based on the strength of its results. Once Pfizer applies, the FDA could make a decision within weeks or months.

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