Pfizer Covid Pill Can Be Used to Treat Adults, EU Regulator Says
(Bloomberg) -- A European Union advisory committee said Pfizer Inc.’s experimental antiviral pill against Covid-19 can be used to treat adults, opening up another potential tool as the region prepares for the possibility of a wave of infections from the omicron variant.
The drug, Paxlovid, is still under review and hasn’t been formally authorized for sale. But countries may choose to use it for adults with Covid who don’t need supplemental oxygen and are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill, the European Medicines Agency said on Thursday. The regulator advised the medicine be given as soon as possible after diagnosis, but not given to people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The prospect of a pill that could be taken at home at the first sign of symptoms is sparking optimism about the course of the pandemic. Paxlovid, which works by binding to an enzyme called a protease to stop the virus from replicating itself, reduced hospitalization and death among high-risk patients by 89% in a trial of 1,219 unvaccinated adults.
Pfizer hasn’t yet said how it will price the pill, but has indicated it would cost less than Covid antibody treatments.
Shares of Pfizer rose as much as 2% in New York trading.
Merck & Co.’s pill, molnupiravir, was the subject of similar emergency advice in November. The EMA said on Tuesday it’s now reviewing more data on the Merck pill after revised results from a study showed it reduced the risk of hospitalization or death less than had previously been reported.
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