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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes Pfizer’s Covid antiviral pills for people 12 and older


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency authorization for Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral pill, making it the first oral method for treating mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. Treatment is for high-risk people 12 years of age or older who could develop a more serious infection from COVID. The best part? The FDA says it could be available for use in a few days, making it another tool as we face the wave of the Omicron alternative.

Paxlovid is available by prescription only, and it is meant to be taken within five days of first noticing symptoms of coronavirus. According to Pfizer tests, it can prevent hospitalization or death by 88 percent in high-risk patients. The treatment, which can be prescribed to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, consists of 30 tablets to be taken over five days. It includes the protein inhibitors nimatelvir and rutinavir, which prevent this inhibitor from breaking down in your body. Side effects include impaired taste, high blood pressure, diarrhea, and muscle aches.

“This mandate provides a new tool to combat COVID-19 at a critical time in the pandemic as new variables emerge and promises to make antiviral therapy more affordable for patients at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19,” Dr. Cavazoni, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

So far, the United States has ordered enough pills to treat 10 million people New York Times reports. The company plans to deliver enough grain to cover 65,000 Americans within a week. After that, production is expected to pick up, with 150,000 cycles delivered in January and 150,000 in February. Nor will it be the only antiviral drug: Merck’s competing treatment is expected to be approved soon, and will likely be more readily available from Pfizer. However, Merck’s option is much less effective, as tests show it can only prevent hospitalization or death by 30 percent. (However, this is better than not getting treatment.)

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