Your fears of being admitted to the hospital if you test positive for COVID-19 could soon rest. The relief follows the development and approval of an oral tablet, Paxlovid, that a patient suffering from COVID-19 can take from home. Only individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk of serious illnesses are permitted to take the Pfizer-developed medication.
Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Laos, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are the ten low-income and middle-income countries where the drug will be available. The drug will be distributed through the Covid Treatment Quick Start Consortium and patients are expected to start receiving the drugs by end of September. It is not, yet clear how much the drug will cost.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation published in April, the drug is for mild and moderate COVID-19 patients at a high risk of hospital admission. Paxlovid is currently the best therapeutic option for high-risk individuals, according to the WHO.
“Pfizer’s oral antiviral drug (a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets) is strongly recommended for patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at highest risk of developing severe disease and hospitalization, such as unvaccinated, older or immunosuppressed patients,” reads part of WHO’s statement.
WHO made the recommendation after new data from two randomized controlled trails from a sample size of 3, 078 showed a reduction of hospitalization by 85 % as a result of treatment using the drug.
“In a high-risk group (over 10% risk of hospitalization), that means 84 fewer hospitalizations per 1, 000 patients,” WHO’s statement continued.
Featured Image: Pfizer handout showing manufacture of Paxlovid in Freiburg, Germany. Source|Reuters