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Pfizer says antiviral pill Paxlovid effective against COVID variant omicron

Pfizer's chief scientific officer called the drug "an important and effective tool in our continued battle against this devastating virus and current variants of concern."

Published: January 18, 2022 5:27pm

Updated: January 18, 2022 6:05pm

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced Tuesday that studies show their COVID-19 pill Paxlovid is effective against the Omicron variant.

Three studies have shown nirmatrelvir, the main ingredient in Paxlovid, has the ability to fight Omicron, according to Pfizer.

"We specifically designed PAXLOVID to retain its activity across coronaviruses, as well as current variants of concern with predominantly spike protein mutations," said Pfizer's Chief Scientific Officer and Research President Mikael Dolsten in a press release. "Following the clinical findings — showing PAXLOVID reduced risk of hospitalization or death by nearly 90% compared to placebo for high-risk patients when treated within five days of symptom onset — we are encouraged by these initial laboratory findings."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Paxlovid for people ages 12 and up with mild-to-moderate COVID under an emergency use authorization in December.

"These data suggest that our oral COVID-19 therapy can be an important and effective tool in our continued battle against this devastating virus and current variants of concern, including the highly transmissible Omicron," Dolsten said. "We will continue to monitor the treatment's activity in real-world settings and believe that these in vitro findings will continue to be validated."

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Monday said that Paxlovid "changes everything." He believes COVID will "most likely" circulate for years, but this wave will be the last one with lockdown restrictions.

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