Pfizer applies for FDA authorization of COVID antiviral pill

Updated: Jan 24


A few weeks following the first-ever authorization by the FDA of Merck’s oral antiviral pill against COVID-19, another pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, has applied for FDA authorization of its antiviral pill to treat unvaccinated people with COVID-19 who are at high risk of becoming severely ill.

Taken as a regimen of thirty pills over five days, when administered within five days of the first COVID-19 symptoms, Pfizer’s experimental treatment for COVID-19 could cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% among patients with mild-to-moderate infections.

Unlike Merck’s oral treatment that works by inserting errors into the virus’s genetic code, Pfizer’s pill stops the coronavirus from replicating by blocking the activity of a key enzyme that the virus uses to replicate itself inside cells -- thus could prove advantageous over Merck’s pill with relatively lesser safety concerns. In the lab, Pfizer's treatment also demonstrated potent antiviral activity against circulating variants of concern and other known coronaviruses, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic for multiple types of coronavirus infections.

In summary, the development of both of these medications could be a breakthrough with immense potential to save many lives and reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.


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