A Pfizer pill for COVID-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% compared to a placebo group, the company said Tuesday in final study results that are similar to initial findings. Pfizer also said its drug, Paxlovid, showed “robust antiviral activity” against the omicron variant in lab studies.
The results were based on a study involving 2,246 adults and should strengthen the company’s application for emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
“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,” Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said.
Pills are an easy-to-administer treatment, making them an important tool in the effort against COVID-19.
Scientists say they should be viewed as a backstop for those who get sick, however, and not a replacement for vaccines that are proactive and less expensive than therapeutics. Drugs also must be administered in the correct time frame after someone tests positive to get ideal results.
Merck is waiting for authorization of its own COVID-19 pill, but final study results showed it was 30% effective against hospitalization, or less impactful than initially thought.
President Biden said the pills must be authorized by the FDA before they reach patients. But he hailed the positive trial results and said he secured 10 million courses of treatment.
“Getting vaccinated and getting your booster shot remain the most important tools we have to save lives,” he said. “But if this treatment is indeed authorized — and once the pills are widely available — it will mark a significant step forward in our path out of the pandemic.”
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.