The FDA has announced that it is approving the Pfizer pill as a treatment for coronavirus. According to the announcement, the citizens will be able to receive the treatment from their home to avoid the serious symptoms.
The long-awaited drug comes as US cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise and health officials warn of a “tsunami” of new Omicron-type infections.
The drug, Paxlovid, is a faster and cheaper way to treat early infections than COVID-19, although initial supplies will be extremely limited. It is available only with a prescription and should be started as soon as possible after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and within five days of the onset of symptoms, the agency said. They will be taken in combination with the older ritonavir antiviral every 12 hours.
The pill from Merck is also expected to be approved soon. The Pfizer drug, however, is certainly the preferred choice due to its mild side effects and higher efficacy, including almost 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths.
Both drugs are expected to treat Omicron effectively.
Experts agree that vaccination remains the best way to protect against COVID-19, but with some 40 million American adults still unvaccinated, effective drugs will be crucial to mitigating current and future pandemic waves.