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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Trials show Pfizer’s Covid antiviral drug can reduce hospitalization risk

Pfizer’s Covid-19 oral antiviral drug reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in late-stage trials, creating a potential new tool for treating patients and fighting the pandemic.

The U.S. pharmaceutical company said on Friday that it will stop the trial due to “overwhelming efficacy” and will add data on the drug called Paxlovid to its rolling submission of emergency use authorization to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible. . possible.

The results of the study show that the drug is even more effective than the antiviral drug developed by Merck, which Merck calls MSD outside the United States, and reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by half, although the test results may not be directly comparable. Merck’s drug was approved for the first time in the UK on Thursday.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla stated that these results “really changed the global effort to contain the devastation of this epidemic”.

“These data show that our oral antiviral drug candidates, if approved or authorized by regulatory agencies, may save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of Covid-19 infection, and eliminate up to nine out of ten hospitalizations. “He said.

The American drugmaker is rapidly gaining market share through the Covid vaccine developed in cooperation with Germany’s BioNTech. The company said earlier this week that the vaccine’s sales this year will reach 36 billion U.S. dollars.

The company has signed a government contract for antiviral drugs and agreed to sell 500,000 doses to Australia, 250,000 doses to the UK, and 70,000 doses to South Korea. Pfizer has stated that it will provide cheaper prices to developing countries.

The trial focuses on high-risk patients who have not yet been hospitalized, and the interim analysis is based on 1,219 patients recruited from around the world as of the end of September.

The data showed that only 0.8% of trial participants who took antiviral drugs within three days of onset of symptoms were hospitalized, compared with 7% of trial participants who received a placebo. The results are similar to those processed within five days. None of the patients who took the drug died, while 1.6% of the patients who took the placebo died.

As an oral medication, antiviral drugs can be used as a home treatment method to reduce the severity of the disease and reduce the impact of the pandemic on the healthcare system. Compared with antibody therapy or Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug Remdesivir, the administration of this drug is much simpler, which is an infusion.

Antiviral drugs are designed to block the enzymes required for virus replication. It is administered with drugs commonly used to treat HIV to ensure that it stays active in the body for a longer period of time.

Pfizer is also conducting research to understand the effectiveness of the drug for standard-risk populations and those who have had family contact with infected patients. The company added that it has shown “effective” activity against pandemic variants of interest and even other known coronaviruses.

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