The United States authorized Pfizer’s pill to fight covid Wednesday, making it the first oral, at-home treatment for the coronavirus… in what doctors hope is an important tool in the fight against the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
Pfizer's antiviral regimen was 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in patients at high risk of severe illness. AND Recent lab data suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against Omicron.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients:
“As we've done with vaccines and monoclonals we'll distribute these treatments, these pills in a fair and equitable way now that they've been authorized by the FDA. The antivirals will be provided to states and jurisdictions at no charge on a pro-rata basis to quickly - to get that supply in the field. As I mentioned in my comments, as part of the administration's commitment to equity, we are also distributing antiviral pills, Pfizer directly to federally qualified community health centers across all 50 states.”
The Food and Drug Administration's decision to issue emergency authorization for the treatment comes as the U.S. combats a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant.
The most widely used monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 – which are typically given intravenously in hospitals - have proven to be less effective at fighting the variant and doctors told Reuters there is limited supply of the one remaining treatment that works.
The hope is that the Pfizer pill fills the gap. Pfizer said it is ready to start immediate delivery in the U.S. and raised its production projections to 120 million courses of treatment in 2022.