Pfizer has received US emergency approval for the corona drug Paxlovid. The anti-Covid pill can also be used in Europe in emergencies.
Washington – The coronavirus is pushing health systems to their limits worldwide. Severe disease progression and a high level of hospitalization leave the intensive care units bursting at the seams. In America, a decisive step towards relieving the burden on hospitals could now have been achieved.
The FDA gave the go-ahead for the new anti-Covid drug called Paxlovid in the United States on Wednesday (December 22nd, 2021). The drug received its emergency approval on Wednesday (December 23, 2012. The pill manufactured by Pfizer is intended to prevent severe disease courses in high-risk patients with mild symptoms. As early as mid-December, the pill showed its first successes in some studies.
Corona drug: Pfizer pill protects against severe courses
“That changes everything,” said Pfizer boss Albert Bourla the television channel CNN. The now approved drug promises to reduce the risk of hospitalization by around 90 percent. Paxlovid should be used in patients with mild to moderate corona symptoms. The pill is taken twice a day, for five days and in combination with another preparation. Ingestion reduces the ability of the coronavirus to multiply in the body’s cells. The further development of the disease is slowed down.
This makes the Pfizer drug the first treatment for Covid-19 in the form of a pill that is taken orally. “At a crucial point in the pandemic with the appearance of new variants, this approval brings a new tool to combat Covid-19,” said FDA representative Patrizia Cavazzoni.
Paxlovid could help improve the situation in the intensive care units. That would be a ray of hope for the overworked hospital staff. Megan Ranny, doctors in the emergency room, told CNN: “It will be just great to have this drug available in addition to the coronavirus.”
Corona pill from Pfizer: no mass production in sight
Paxlovid has the great advantage that the sick can simply take the corona pill from home. Other agents such as the antiviral drug Remdesivir, on the other hand, have to be administered intravenously and therefore in hospitals. But there is a catch. As Pfizer has already announced, the company is far from mass production of the pill. The drug would be made in a complex synthetic process that takes around six to eight months.
The US government has already ordered ten million packs for a price of $ 5.3 billion. The White House announced that the first pills could be delivered this year. In January, the US should have around 265,000 packs available.
With regard to the shortage of paxlovid, only risk groups should initially be supplied with the drug. People who show clear symptoms of the disease and are prone to a severe course of the disease should receive the corona pill within the first three days after the onset of symptoms.
Paxlovid receives emergency approval: the corona pill does not replace a vaccination
In Germany, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) preaches time and again that vaccination is the most important means of coping with the pandemic, especially with regard to the Omikron variant. The FDA emphasizes that the anti-Covid pill is not a miracle cure and, above all, not a substitute for a vaccination. The EU Medicines Agency EMA supported the use of paxlovid in emergencies last week. This means that the drug can be used before it is approved in the EU; the decision rests with the national authorities.
Paxlovid could become an important tool for relieving health and care facilities in the future. In addition to the Pfizer pill, several corona drugs have already been approved in Europe. Including the drug tocilizumab, which is said to reduce the risk of death extremely in severe cases. (aa / afp)