Pfizer says its new pill can dramatically reduce COVID’s severity — even with the Omicron variant

Pfizer says its new pill can dramatically reduce COVID’s severity — even with the Omicron variant

Medical experts still have a lot to learn about COVID-19’s new Omicron variant, which has been spreading rapidly in Europe and Southern Africa as well as the United States. But according to Pfizer, there is a hopeful sign: laboratory studies are showing that Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pill, Paxlovid, is effective against Omicron.

In an official statement, Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, said, “We are confident that, if authorized or approved, this potential treatment could be a critical tool to help quell the pandemic.”

In November, Pfizer asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize Paxlovid.

New York Times reporters Carl Zimmer and Rebecca Robbins note, “Pfizer said that if given within three days of the onset of symptoms, Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 89%. If given within five days, the risk was reduced almost as much, to 88%. The results, based on an analysis of 2246 unvaccinated volunteers at high risk of severe disease, largely match the company’s initial, smaller analysis of the clinical trial, released last month."

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