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Pfizer confirms COVID pill seems to work against omicron

WASHINGTON (AP) – Pfizer said Tuesday that its experimental COVID-19 pill appears to be effective against the omicron variant.

The company also said the full results of the study of 2,250 people confirmed the promising early results of the pill against the virus: The drug reduced hospitalizations and deaths among adults by about 89%. are at high risk when taken shortly after initial COVID-19 symptoms.

The company announced separate lab testing that showed the drug retained its potency against the omicron variant, as many experts had predicted. Pfizer tested this antiviral drug based on a man-made version of a key protein that omicrons use to regenerate themselves.

The updates come as COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations are all rising again and the US has about 800,000 deaths from the pandemic. The latest increase, fueled by delta variation, is accelerating due to colder weather and more people gathering indoors, even as health officials brace for the impact of the emerging omicron mutation .

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue a ruling soon on whether to allow the Pfizer pill and a competing pill from Merck, which has been filed with regulators weeks. before. If licensed, these pills would be the first COVID-19 treatment Americans can buy at the pharmacy and take home.

Pfizer’s data could help reassure regulators about the drug’s benefits after Merck revealed smaller-than-expected benefits for its drug in a final trial. Late last month, Merck said its pill had reduced hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk adults by 30%.

Both companies initially studied their drugs in unvaccinated adults, who face the heaviest risks from COVID-19, due to old age or health problems. health problems, such as asthma or obesity.

Pfizer is also studying its pill in lower-risk adults – including a small group of vaccinated adults – but reported mixed data for that group on Tuesday.

In the interim results, Pfizer said its drug failed to meet its primary study goal: COVID-19 relief that lasted for four days during or after treatment, as reported by patients. But the drug achieved its second goal by reducing hospital admissions by about 70 percent in that group, including unvaccinated healthy adults and vaccinated adults with one or more problems. health issue. Less than 1% of patients using the drug were hospitalized, compared with 2.4% of patients using a fake drug.

An independent panel of medical experts reviewed the data and recommended that Pfizer continue the study for full results before proceeding with regulatory agencies.

In both Pfizer studies, adults taking the company’s drug had a 10-fold reduction in viral levels compared with those taking a placebo.

The prospect of new drugs to fight COVID-19 may not come anytime soon for communities in the Northeast and Midwest, where many hospitals are once again overwhelmed by incoming virus infections.

Both Merck and Pfizer are effective against omicrons because they do not target the mutant protein of the coronavirus, which contains most of the mutations of the new variant.

The US government has agreed to buy enough Pfizer drugs to treat 10 million people and enough Merck drugs to treat 3 million, pending FDA approval.

https://kfor.com/news/coronavirus/pfizer-confirms-covid-pill-appears-to-works-against-omicron/ Pfizer confirms COVID pill seems to work against omicron

JACLYN DIAZ

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