The US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved use of Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid, to treat COVID-19 in high-risk individuals 12 years of age and older who weigh at least 88 pounds.
CNN reports this as the first antiviral COVID-19 pill authorized for those who are ill to take at home, before they get sick enough to be hospitalized.
Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement, “Pfizer stands ready to begin delivery in the U.S. immediately to help get PAXLOVID into the hands of appropriate patients as quickly as possible.”
Paxlovid combines a new antiviral drug named nirmatrelvir and an older one called ritonavir.
Last week, Pfizer announced that treatment with the new drug cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% if given to high-risk adults within a few days of their first symptoms.
If given within the first five days of symptoms, the efficacy was similar: 88%.