Israel Authorizes Use of Pfizer Antiviral COVID Pill Paxlovid

Paxlovid, the first at-home treatment for the coronavirus, is expected to arrive in Israel in the next few days

Ido Efrati
Reuters
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A handout photo provided from November shows the making of Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral pills, Paxlovid,  inside his laboratory in Germany.
A handout photo provided from November shows the making of Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral pills, Paxlovid, inside his laboratory in Germany.Credit: HANDOUT - AFP
Ido Efrati
Reuters

Israel's Health Ministry authorized on Sunday the use of Pfizer's antiviral COVID-19 pill, Paxlovid, the first at-home treatment for coronavirus that is expected to become an important tool in the fight against the fast-spreading omicron variant.

Israel, which authorized the pills for emergency use, has signed a deal with the company and the drug is expected to arrive in the country in the next few days.

Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Paxlovid for emergency use.

Data from Pfizer's clinical trial showed its antiviral regimen was 90 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in patients at high risk of severe illness. Recent lab data suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against omicron.

The agency said it authorized the oral drug for emergency use for the treatment of mild-to-moderate disease in adults and pediatric patients of 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms, or about 88 pounds, who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.

The drug is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset, the agency said.

The Pfizer pills, taken with the older antiviral drug ritonavir, will be sold under the brand name Paxlovid. The pills are meant to be taken every 12 hours for five days beginning shortly after the onset of symptoms.

Pfizer said it plans to file a new drug application with the FDA in 2022 for potential full regulatory approval. 

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