US approves first oral pill for treatment of COVID


US approves first oral pill for treatment of COVID

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid, to treat COVID-19.

This is the first antiviral COVID-19 pill authorised for sick people to take at home before they are sick enough to be hospitalised.

Paxlovid combines a new antiviral drug named nirmatrelvir and an older one called ritonavir and is administered as three pills given twice a day for five days.

In a statement on Wednesday, the FDA said those eligible for the pill include high-risk individuals age 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and have a positive SARS-CoV-2 test are eligible.

It said Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset.

Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the pill is a major step forward in the fight against this global pandemic.