Pfizer said Tuesday its COVID-19 antiviral pill “significantly reduced” the chances of being hospitalized or dying from the virus by 89% for high-risk adult patients within three days of symptom onset.
The drug, Paxlovid, cut those risks by 88% if taken five days from symptom onset, the company said in a press release.
Pfizer said it shared the data with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where it is seeking emergency use authorization. Paxlovid consists of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir antiviral tablets.
The company said data indicate nirmatrelvir is “a potent inhibitor” of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
A second, ongoing study of standard-risk adults showed a 70% reduction in hospitalizations and no deaths when treated with Paxlovid.
“This news provides further corroboration that our oral antiviral candidate, if authorized or approved, could have a meaningful impact on the lives of many, as the data further support the efficacy of Paxlovid in reducing hospitalization and death and show a substantial decrease in viral load” Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO, said in the release.
Approval of a pill would allow in-home treatment for COVID-19. Current treatments require injection or intravenous administration.
Merck and Ridgeback Pharmaceuticals are also developing a pill to treat COVID-19. Their molnupiravir was endorsed by an FDA panel on Nov. 30 for emergency use. But full trial data suggests it may be less effective than originally believed.
On Monday, the New York Times reported molnupiravir could pose risks to pregnant women.
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