The World Health Organisation on Friday strongly recommended Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral pill Paxlovid for patients with non-severe COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of developing severe disease and hospitalization.
The new recommendation made by WHO is based on new data from two randomized controlled trials involving 3078 patients. According to the data, the risk of hospitalization is reduced by 85% following this treatment in the patients. In a high-risk group (over 10% risk of hospitalization), that means 84 fewer hospitalizations per 1000 patients.
"Pfizer’s oral antiviral drug (a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets) is strongly recommended for patients with non-severe covid-19 who are at highest risk of hospitalisation, such as unvaccinated, older, or immunosuppressed patients, with lack of vaccination as an additional risk factor to consider," WHO’s press statement said.
"The experts explain that nirmatrelvir/ritonavir likely represents a superior choice for these patients because it may prevent more hospitalisations than the alternatives, has fewer potential harms than the antiviral drug molnupiravir, and is easier to administer than intravenous options such as remdesivir and antibody treatments," the statement added.
Paxlovid pills must be taken by the patients within five days of the onset of symptoms and the course then lasts five days.
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