FDA Panel Backs First-Of-A-Kind COVID-19 Pill From Merck
An FDA advisory panel has backed Merck's experimental antiviral medication to treat COVID.LEARN MORE
The drug is authorized for adults and children ages 12 and older who test positive, show early symptoms and face a high risk of hospitalization.
U.S. health regulators on Wednesday authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus.
The drug, Paxlovid, is a faster, cheaper way to treat early COVID-19 infections, though initial supplies will be extremely limited. All of the previously authorized drugs against the disease require an IV or an injection.
An antiviral pill from Merck also is expected to soon win authorization. But Pfizer's drug is all but certain to be the preferred option because of its mild side effects and superior effectiveness, including a nearly 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths among patients most likely to get severe disease.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer's drug for adults and children ages 12 and older with a positive COVID-19 test and early symptoms who face the highest risks of hospitalization. That includes older people and those with conditions like obesity and heart disease. Children eligible for the drug must weigh at least 88 pounds.
Pfizer currently has 180,000 treatment courses available worldwide, with roughly 60,000 to 70,000 allocated to the U.S. Federal health officials are expected to ration early shipments to the hardest hit parts of the country. Pfizer said the small supply is due to the manufacturing time — currently about nine months. The company says it can halve production time next year.
The U.S. government has agreed to purchase enough Paxlovid to treat 10 million people. Pfizer says it's on track to produce 80 million courses globally next year, under contracts with the U.K., Australia and other nations.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
People are traveling from around the world to a Texas center that is testing a pain medication injection as a way to treat loss of smell from COVID.By Scripps News
Pharmacists are working to get the COVID vaccine to communities that may not have easy access to a pharmacy.By Scripps News
The FDA proposed a simplified approach for future vaccination efforts, allowing most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to combat COVID.By Rogelio V. Solis / AP
The protesters said they intend to remain peaceful, but they wanted to express their support for Nichols and their disgust for the police.By Gerald Herbert / AP
It's so big that his nose is a traffic cone!By Scripps News
Tyre Nichols died after an encounter with police in Memphis after they pulled him over on Jan. 7.By Nichols family / AP