The New Normal: COVID-19 treatments showing success
News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Dr. Tom McGinn to discuss the antiviral pills showing success in treating COVID-19.
Currently all COVID-19 treatments used in the U.S. require an IV or injection.
Pfizer Inc. said Friday that its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% as the drugmaker joins the race to bring the first easy-to-use medication against the coronavirus to the U.S. market.
Pfizer said it will ask the FDA and international regulators to authorize its pill as soon as possible, after independent experts recommended halting the company's study based on the strength of its results. Once Pfizer applies, the FDA could make a decision within weeks or months.
Competitor Merck's COVID-19 pill is already under review at the Food and Drug Administration after showing strong initial results, and on Thursday the United Kingdom became the first country to OK it. Advisors to the FDA are scheduled to meet Nov. 30 to discuss emergency authorization for the pill.
The pill was licensed in the U.K. for adults 18 and older who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have at least one risk factor for developing severe disease, such as obesity or heart disease. Patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 would take four pills of the drug, known as molnupiravir, twice a day for five days.
An antiviral pill that reduces symptoms and speeds recovery could prove groundbreaking, easing caseloads on hospitals and helping to curb outbreaks in poorer countries with fragile health systems. It would also bolster the two-pronged approach to the pandemic: treatment, by way of medication, and prevention, primarily through vaccinations.
The FDA has gone so far as to recommend testing for multiple days to try to catch asymptomatic cases because there have been reports of false negatives with these tests. The CDC says gathering safely for the holidays this year should include being fully vaccinated, testing, masks and caution around people with compromised immune systems. How do we figure out who needs to be tested?
Is it the flu, is it a cold, is it COVID-19? How do we know? Is it safe to get flu shot and a COVID-19 shot/booster at the same time?
AP wire services contributed to this report.