Why Covid might return in patients that take Paxlovid

Ashna Waseem 03:30 PM, 24 Sep, 2022
Why Covid might return in patients that take Paxlovid

In late 2021, scientists started to observe a particular pattern when the revolutionary COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid was first introduced to the public. Some persons using the medication report temporary relief of symptoms and lack of detectable infection, only to have it returned days later.

Scientists are finally making progress in their quest to explain the 'Paxlovid rebound' after months of groping in the dark. The results of two recent studies raise the intriguing possibility that SARS-CoV-2 re-emergence is more prevalent and more severe in patients using Paxlovid than in those not taking the drug for COVID-19.

Michael Charness, a physician-scientist at VA Boston Healthcare in Massachusetts who published an early account of Paxlovid rebound, says, "We're all-seeing folks on Paxlovid doing extremely well then suddenly they're becoming ill again." Many questions need to be resolved.

Does Covid return in patients that take Paxlovid?

Some people who used the oral antiviral Paxlovid manufactured by Pfizer Inc. reported that their COVID-19 symptoms reappeared after therapy was finished.

While some individuals may have severe symptoms upon "rebound," studies show that the vast majority only experience mild to moderate symptoms. Although more studies are required to verify these findings, the following is currently known concerning the recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms after treatment with Paxlovid.

While experts agree that studying these rebound instances is essential, they stress that this should not be interpreted as evidence that Paxlovid has failed. The CDC says no cases of severe sickness associated with COVID-19 rebound have been reported. In most cases, patients saw a reduction in their symptoms within three days without any extra therapy. The antiviral showed almost a 90% reduction in hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19 among outpatients at high risk of severe disease in the Pfizer clinical study.

Dr Jeffrey Klausner, a clinical professor at USC's Keck School of Medicine, called Paxlovid a "life-saver" since it reduces the quantity of virus in the body, alleviates symptoms, and prevents the worsening of sickness. According to Klausner, those at risk, such as the elderly, the obese, and those with preexisting diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure, benefit significantly from the medicine.

The bottom line

The oral antiviral medication combination Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir) has proven a godsend in places where it is widely accessible. Pfizer, located in New York City, funded a clinical investigation that found the vaccine lowered the incidence of hospitalization and mortality among previously unvaccinated persons. Studies in the real world reveal that vaccinated persons may potentially benefit from the treatment. After finishing the 5-day course of this antiviral, some patients report that their symptoms have returned. According to the available data, only a minority of individuals experience a "rebound" of their symptoms. While experts agree further research is needed, they emphasize that Paxlovid remains an essential therapy for COVID-19.

Ashna Waseem
Ashna Waseem

The author is contributing writer at Medical News Pakistan and can be reached at



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