US approves first oral pill for treatment of COVID

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid, to treat COVID-19.

This is the first antiviral COVID-19 pill authorised for sick people to take at home before they are sick enough to be hospitalised.

Paxlovid combines a new antiviral drug named nirmatrelvir and an older one called ritonavir and is administered as three pills given twice a day for five days.

In a statement on Wednesday, the FDA said those eligible for the pill include high-risk individuals age 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and have a positive SARS-CoV-2 test are eligible.

It said Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset.

Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the pill is a major step forward in the fight against this global pandemic.



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