"Green light" coronavirus pills

Another very effective tool has been added to the pharmaceutical arsenal to fight the pandemic. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has given the green light to Pfizer’s antiviral pills, which, according to clinical studies, reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by 90%.

The tablet is intended for patients who are at risk of developing severe Covid-19 but who do not require oxygen support. Some countries have already purchased Paxlovid tablets as Coreper issued emergency use recommendations from last year. In the meantime, an EMA evaluation is ongoing for a matching MSD tablet (Merck in the US), which reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by 30%. Both drugs are already approved in the US.

According to Pfizer, the produced drug is “enough” for 80 million people who need the drug in 2022. The latest laboratory data show that the treatment remains effective against the Omicron variant that has spread worldwide. Pfizer tablets are taken every 12 hours, for five days after the onset of symptoms, along with the older antiviral drug ritonavir.

A drug designed to block an enzyme that allows the virus to multiply belongs to the class of protease inhibitors (as do drugs for HIV, hepatitis C, and other viruses).

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