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Covid-19: the Pfizer pill authorized in the European Union


L’anti-Covid-19 arsenal is getting a new treatment. On Thursday, January 27, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it had approved Pfizer’s pill, which becomes the first antiviral medicine taken by mouth authorized in the European Union. In its statement, the EMA recommended authorizing Paxlovid for the treatment of Covid-19 in adults who do not need supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of the disease becoming serious.

Antivirals work by decreasing the ability of a virus to replicate, thereby curbing disease. They are eagerly awaited because they are easy to administer and can be taken simply at home with a glass of water. Pfizer said in December that its anti-Covid pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths in those at risk by nearly 90% when taken within the first few days after symptoms appear.

Treatment reduces deaths or hospitalizations

The EMA has assessed data from a study involving patients with Covid-19 showing that treatment with Paxlovid ‘significantly’ reduced hospitalizations or deaths in patients who had at least one underlying condition putting them at risk. at risk of severe Covid-19. The majority of patients in the study were infected with the Delta variant, the EMA said, while stressing that according to laboratory tests, Paxlovid should remain effective against Omicron.

The Pfizer pill is a combination of a new molecule, PF-07321332, and ritonavir, an HIV antiviral, which are taken as separate tablets. The EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has concluded that the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks for the approved use and will send its recommendations to the European Commission for a rapid decision applicable in all EU Member States. EU. This approval procedure by the Commission generally takes a few hours or a few days.

With the authorization of Paxlovid this week, six anti-Covid drugs have been authorized as part of the EU therapeutics strategy, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said in a statement. The United States, Canada and Israel are among a handful of countries that have already given the green light to the Pfizer treatment.