LONDON: Pfizer has developed an antiviral medication targeting COVID-19 that claims to cuts the risk of severe symptoms requiring hospitalization by 89 per cent in immunocompromised adults, clinical trial results show.
This news came in just as UK became the first country to adopt Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill, Molnupravir, as part of their emergency protocol against the pandemic.
The drug, named Paxlovid, is indicated for administering as soon as symptoms emerge in people with severe disease risk. It is formulated as a protease inhibitor, intended to block an enzyme the coronavirus needs to reproduce and multiply. It can linger in the body for longer if taken in conjunction with Ritonavir, another antiviral.
The amalgamation treatment has a different mechanism than Molnupravir, which presents errors in the viral genetic code.
“The medication has lifesaving potential; it can decrease Covid-19 infection severity and eradicate nine out of 10 hospitalizations”, said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive of the company. Pfizer says it halted trials early because the initial results alone were so encouraging.
The UK has already invested in this announcement by ordering 250,000 courses of Paxlovid, alongside ordering another 480,000 courses of Merck’s Molnupiravir pill.
“If approved, this could be another key weapon in our fight against the virus, alongside vaccines and other treatments,” said Sajid Javid, the Secretary of Health and Social Care, while deeming the results as ‘incredible’. However, UK’s own medicines regulator would still be analyzing it further for safety and effectiveness.