Updated on: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 02:25 PM IST

Pfizer's antiviral pill is powerful tool to fight COVID-19, including the Omicron variant, says US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden | AP/PTI

US President Joe Biden | AP/PTI


Washington: US President Joe Biden on Tuesday (local time) said that Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral pill mark a significant step forward in the path out of the pandemic.

"I am encouraged by the promising data released by Pfizer today, showing that its antiviral pill is effective at reducing the risk of severe illness in people infected with COVID-19. This news provides another potentially powerful tool in our fight against the virus, including the Omicron variant," read a statement from the President on Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral pill.

"Getting vaccinated and getting your booster shot to remain the most important tools we have to save lives. But if this treatment is indeed authorized -- and once the pills are widely available -- it will mark a significant step forward in our path out of the pandemic," added the statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pfizer announced additional phase 2/3 study results confirming robust efficacy of novel COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment candidate in reducing the risk of hospitalization or death.

The final results from an analysis of all 2,246 adults enrolled in its Phase 2/3 EPIC-HR (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in High-Risk Patients) trial of its novel COVID-19 oral antiviral candidate PAXLOVID(tm) [nirmatrelvir (PF-07321332) tablets and ritonavir tablets] were consistent with the interim analysis announced in November 2021, showing PAXLOVID significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death for any cause by 89 per cent compared to placebo in non-hospitalized, high-risk adult patients with COVID-19 treated within three days of symptom onset, said Pfizer release.

"In a secondary endpoint, PAXLOVID reduced the risk of hospitalization or death for any cause by 88 per cent compared to placebo in patients treated within five days of symptom onset, an increase from the 85 per cent observed in the interim analysis," added the release.

The EPIC-HR data have been shared with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of an ongoing rolling submission for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Meanwhile, Biden said that several steps remain before the Pfizer pill can become available, including authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

"To make sure that we are ready, my Administration has already placed an order for enough of these pills to treat 10 million Americans," said Biden.

He further reiterated that the combination of widespread vaccinations and boosters, testing, and effective pills for those who become ill will help further reduce the impact of COVID-19 on lives and the economy as the US continue to build back better.


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Published on: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 02:25 PM IST