Pfizer says its antiviral COVID 19 pill still effective against Omicron variant

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Pfizer says its antiviral COVID 19 pill still effective against Omicron variant

Dec 14 Reuters - Pfizer Inc.'s final analysis of data from the trial of its antiviral COVID 19 pill showed that it still had close to 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients.

Recent lab data shows that the drug retains its effectiveness against the fast spreading Omicron variant of the coronaviruses.

ANTHONY FAUCI,

The data showed that there was an 89% protection from hospitalization or death within the first few days of symptoms, now that the complete final data set is just as good, if not better. That's really good news. It's holding up under larger numbers of people. They're going to submit that to the FDA and hopefully we'll get some action on that soon. I'm hopeful that the antivirals will be distributed more widely than the vaccines. It is an issue because countries that don't have the funds to compete with countries like the U.S. will preorder doses like the U.S. did, and that will put a strain on global distribution, particularly in countries that don't have the funds to compete with countries like the US. SEAN LIU, ASSISTANT PROF. An effective oral SARS-CoV 2 -- 3 CL protease inhibitor may be a great addition to combat the COVID 19 pandemic, especially given the ongoing risks of Spike protein variants that may become resistant to monoclonal antibody therapies or vaccine-induced immunity. Monoclonal antibodies have to be injected and an oral pill is certainly easier to take. If production can be ramped up, and if the final results show this promising result, I think it could transform how we manage people who are at high risk, mild to moderate COVID 19 but not yet sick enough to be in the hospital. Results are encouraging but it would be good to roll out with more data collection and pharmacovigilance. Emergence of drug resistance is a concern as with any monotherapy for viral disease. Pfizer has signed with MPP to provide licenses to 95 countries. It may take a few months but these companies should be able to scale. If the Pfizer pill is as good as we think it will be, I certainly hope that it will be available throughout the world because I think it has the potential to make a big difference. It is a good argument for the need to step up production and policymakers to have a more forward looking plan on therapeutics availability than we did on vaccines. We have to take it seriously because some people are saying that treatments might be the end game of the epidemic.