Pfizer says antiviral COVID-19 pill effective against severe illness, omicron variant

Among those at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions

Updated: December 14, 2021 - 8:27am

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Pfizer announced Tuesday that a final analysis of its experimental COVID-19 antiviral pill sharply reduced hospitalizations and deaths among people at high risk of severe illness from the virus.

The final study reinforces an earlier analysis from November, according to The Washington Post.

Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill cut hospitalizations and deaths by nearly 90% when taken within three or five days of the onset of symptoms, the company announced. Preliminary laboratory studies also suggest the pill is effective against COVID’S omicron variant, the Post also reports.

Among those at high risk for severe illness are the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.

Pfizer and Merck each have antiviral medications under consideration by regulators, as health-care professionals, pharmaceutical companies and others hasten to learn how effective existing vaccination shots are against omicron, or whether new vaccines or booster shots are needed.