Pfizer Shares Good News About The Experimental COVID-19 Pill

Following the announcement of their interim study findings in November, Pfizer has now released their latest findings as to the efficacy of Paxlovid, an oral antiviral therapy designed to reduce severe complications from COVID-19 infection, specifically hospitalizations and death (via Pfizer). Such a drug would be particularly important for populations most susceptible to infection, such as those with preexisting health conditions or the elderly.

The company announced that this recent data reflected that of their initial findings, demonstrating that the drug reduces the chances of hospitalization or death from severe COVID-19 complications by 89% in high-risk adults when taken within three days of the emergence of symptoms. When taken within five days' time, the risk increased by only 1%, showing an 88% reduction in risk. In their total analysis of over 2,000 COVID-19 positive patients, zero deaths and five hospitalizations were reported among 697 patients treated with the drug within three days' time of symptoms first appearing (via CNN). So what does this mean for the future of the pandemic?

Paxlovid's potential impact on COVID-19 infection rates

According to CNN, Paxlovid is made up of two different antiviral drugs — nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. With the COVID-19 virus continuing to mutate, as we've seen with the Delta and Omicron variants, Paxlovid has the potential to combat rates of infection worldwide regardless of vaccination status.

Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla shares hopes for the future in a public statement, saying, "Emerging variants of concern, like Omicron, have exacerbated the need for accessible treatment options for those who contract the virus, and we are confident that, if authorized or approved, this potential treatment could be a critical tool to help quell the pandemic."

Currently, Pfizer is seeking emergency use authorization for the drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), though no official panel meeting date has been set as of yet, according to CNN. In the meantime, health experts continue to voice their public support for Paxlovid. Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky described the drug as "another great tool in our toolbox" during an interview with Today. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci tells CNN the drug may very well be "a lifesaver" for both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.