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EMA recommends emergency use of Pfizer COVID-19 pill

Paxlovid, a Pfizer’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pill, is seen manufactured in Ascoli, Italy.

The Hague, Netherlands | Xinhua | The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday issued advice on the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill called Paxlovid.

The European Union (EU) drug regulator said the medicine, which is not yet authorized in the EU, can be used to treat adults with COVID-19 who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of progressing to severe disease.

Paxlovid should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms, it said.

EMA said it issued this advice to support national authorities who may decide on possible early use of the medicine prior to marketing authorization, for example in emergency use settings, in the light of rising rates of infection and deaths due to COVID-19 across the EU.

Data showed that Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization and death when treatment started within five days of the start of symptoms, according to EMA.

Test results showed that about one percent of patients who took Paxlovid within five days of the start of symptoms were hospitalized within 28 days of starting treatment, compared with 6.7 percent of patients given placebo. None of the patients in the Paxlovid group died compared with 10 patients in the placebo group, said EMA.

Paxlovid is an oral antiviral medicine that reduces the ability of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) to multiply in the body.



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