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Pfizer Says Its Antiviral Pill Is Highly Effective in Treating Covid

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  • Pfizer Says Its Antiviral Pill Is Highly Effective in Treating Covid

    Pfizer Says Its Antiviral Pill Is Highly Effective in Treating Covid
    .
    Pfizer announced on Friday that its pill to treat Covid-19 had been found in a key clinical trial to be highly effective at preventing severe illness among at-risk people who received the drug soon after they exhibited symptoms.

    The antiviral pill is the second of its kind to demonstrate efficacy against Covid. It appears to be more effective than a similar offering from Merck, which is awaiting federal authorization.

    Pfizer’s pill, which will be sold under the brand name Paxlovid, cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 percent when given within three days after the start of symptoms.

    Pfizer said an independent board of experts monitoring its clinical trial recommended that the study be stopped early because the drug’s benefit to patients had proved so convincing. The company said it planned to submit the data as soon as possible to the Food and Drug Administration to seek authorization for the pill to be used in the United States.

    “The results are really beyond our wildest dreams,” said Annaliesa Anderson, a Pfizer executive who led the drug’s development. She expressed hope that Paxlovid “can have a big impact on helping all our lives go back to normal again and seeing the end of the pandemic.”

    The treatment could become available in the next few months, though supplies are likely to be limited at first. The Pfizer and Merck pills are both geared toward patients regarded as high-risk, such as those above the age of 60 or with conditions like obesity that make them more susceptible to severe consequences from Covid.

    Assuming the hype from Pfizer on the Pfizer pill holds up, in a few months, we'll finally have a robust treatment for the unvaccinated.

  • #2
    Pfizer antiviral pill reduced risk of covid hospitalization and death by 89 percent in high-risk people, company study shows
    .
    An experimental coronavirus pill reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent in high-risk people infected with the virus, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Friday.

    The effect of the drug, a five-day regimen designed to block the virus from making copies of itself, was found to be so strong midway through the study that an independent committee monitoring the clinical trial recommended it be stopped early. The data has not yet been published or peer-reviewed. Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla told CNBC that the company would submit data to U.S. regulators before Thanksgiving.

    Easy-to-deliver antiviral pills that blunt infections could be a powerful addition to the medical tool kit to manage the pandemic and equip the world for a future in which the coronavirus continues to circulate. Two are now close on the horizon — the Pfizer treatment and one from Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that is already under consideration by regulators. Such treatments would augment the medical armamentarium, not replace highly protective vaccines, similar to how people receive flu shots but may be prescribed Tamiflu if they do fall ill.

    “This is amazing news. My overall feeling was relief — it’s been a long path,” said Annaliesa Anderson, the chief scientific officer of Pfizer’s bacterial vaccines and hospital medicine division, who leads the program to develop the drug. Anderson, who has been working on the medicine since January 2020, said it was a “heart-in-your-mouth moment” when she learned the news Wednesday night while driving to Massachusetts for college visits with her daughter.

    “We’re looking at end-to-end protection and treatment,” Anderson said. “We have the vaccine for protection, and now we have an opportunity for treatment.”

    David Boulware, an infectious-disease physician-scientist at the University of Minnesota Medical School not involved in the research said the findings were “pretty impressive.” He noted the drug was most effective when given earlier, within three days of symptoms, but it remained highly effective even when given five days after symptoms appeared — which may better reflect the real world use of the drug.

    “That’s great. That’s a huge impact,” Boulware said.

    Pfizer has already begun manufacturing the drug and projects producing more than 180,000 pill packs by the end of this year. The company is working to rapidly scale up manufacturing to at least 21 million packs in the first half of next year, with a total production of 50 million packs in 2022. The company did not disclose the price.

    Obviously, 180,000 packs by the end of the year and 50 million packs by the end of 2022 won't meet the current or projected need in time. The story continues with discussion of licensing to boost production.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Juvenal View Post

      [...]

      Assuming the hype from Pfizer on the Pfizer pill holds up, in a few months, we'll finally have a robust treatment for the unvaccinated.
      That, as always, is the big "if."

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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      • #4
        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
        That, as always, is the big "if."
        Closing the trial says they're convinced their data is supportable. I'm optimistic. But I still want their data checked by someone "not-Pfizer."

        Comment


        • #5

          Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
          New drug #2 has been announced! This one's from Pfizer, and it uses a different mechanism of action from the Merck drug. The only clinical data on it comes from a company press release, but it sounds fantastic: given to high risk patients, it dropped hospitalizations and deaths by roughly 90%. Because it uses a different mechanism, there's no reason the two drugs couldn't be given simultaneously — it's likely they'd have an additive effect.

          While the clinical data hasn't been released, Pfizer did just publish a paper describing the drug's history. It was originally developed to target the original SARS-CoV-1 virus. Specifically, it targets a protease (protein-cutting enzyme) encoded by the virus that's needed to activate a few of the viruses proteins (some of the virus' genes encode a single, long protein that needs to be cut into multiple smaller pieces, each of which performs different functions). The drug is a big complicated molecule that's a combination of stretches that look like linked amino acids that the protease would target, but embedded in a chemical context that keeps the protease from digesting them.

          The original version of the drug fell in the typical category of "works great in a test tube, but won't work as a pill". It didn't cross cell membranes easily, and wasn't absorbed in the digestive system. It took crafting and testing multiple chemical relatives to get something that was effective in pill form. If you've ever wondered why drug development is expensive, hiring enough experienced chemists to do that sort of thing is one part of the reasons.

          One positive feature of this drug is that it appears to be able to bind to the proteases of many related viruses, so could be effective against emerging threats.
          Copypasta from the Lurch's Merck thread.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Juvenal View Post

            Closing the trial says they're convinced their data is supportable. I'm optimistic. But I still want their data checked by someone "not-Pfizer."
            Saw a tweet on Twitter earlier:

            "Pfizer announces that Pfizer drug works according to Pfizer tests."
            That's what
            - She

            Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
            - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

            I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
            Stephen R. Donaldson

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post

              Saw a tweet on Twitter earlier:

              "Pfizer announces that Pfizer drug works according to Pfizer tests."
              What could possibly be wrong about that?
              The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

              Comment

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