Pfizer pill cuts risk of severe COVID-19 by 89%
American company Pfizer's experimental antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 cuts the risk of hospitalization and death by 89% in vulnerable adults, according to clinical trial results. The firm said it has stopped trials early as the initial results were so favorable. The results are seemingly better than those seen with Merck & Co. Inc.'s pill, molnupiravir. Here are more details on this.
Why does it matter?
- With this, Pfizer has given the world a second effective antiviral against COVID-19.
- The first, developed by Merck, reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by about half.
- The United Kingdom's health agency authorized that pill on Thursday, becoming the first country to do so.
- The UK has ordered nearly 5,00,000 courses of the molnupiravir pill.
What were the trial results?
Pfizer tested its drug in 1,219 adults who tested positive for COVID-19, had mild or moderate symptoms, and had at least one risk factor for severe disease. Three people in the active drug group were hospitalized and none died. In the placebo group, 27 people were hospitalized while seven died. The data has not been published in a scientific journal as yet.
How does the pill work?
The Pfizer drug works by stopping the coronavirus from multiplying inside cells. The treatment includes 30 pills taken over five days. Three pills are meant to be taken twice a day for that period.
Pfizer will seek FDA nod soon
Pfizer said adverse events happened in about 20% of both treatment and placebo patients. It is also studying the treatment's impact on people at low risk of infection and those who have already been exposed to the virus. The company plans to submit its data to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization "as soon as possible."
Pill has the 'potential to save lives'
"These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patients' lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, and eliminate up to nine out of 10 hospitalizations," Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said in a statement.