COVID-19 pills could be a game changer — if you can get your hands on them

COVID-19 pills could be a game changer — if you can get your hands on them

COVID-19 sufferers in Wyoming desperate to get their hands on Pfizer’s new antiviral tablet for treating the illness might need to draw straws. With provides extraordinarily restricted for now, the Biden administration initially will present the state with solely 100 programs of the drug.

Different small states are additionally getting small allotments of the tablet, known as Paxlovid (see chart beneath). Alaska, North Dakota and Vermont, together with the District of Columbia, will every obtain 120 programs, whereas South Dakota, Delaware and Montana will get 140, 160 and 180, respectively, based on a breakdown from the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers.

Till Pfizer can ramp up manufacturing in 2022, Paxlovid provides will be scarce in bigger states as effectively. The federal government will present California with an preliminary provide of 6,180 programs. Given the state’s inhabitants of greater than 39 million folks, that quantities to roughly one therapy per 6,300 residents. Texas, with 30 million folks, is ready to get 4,240 programs of Paxlovid. 

The Meals and Drug Administration announced Wednesday it has permitted Paxlovid to deal with COVID-19 for emergency use, permitting restricted use of the drug in Individuals as younger as 12 who’re at “high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.” 

A course of therapy is made up of three tablets which might be taken twice a day over the course of 5 days — a whole of 30 pills.

Fewer than 65,000 programs of Paxlovid — which is on the market by prescription solely — will be accessible beginning the primary week of January, federal well being officers introduced this week. The federal government can pay Pfizer $5.29 billion to ship 10 million programs by the top of 2022. The drugmaker said it expects to make a whole of 120 million programs subsequent 12 months.

"According to Pfizer, the complex chemistry involved in creating the active ingredient in the pill means production takes about six to eight months," Jeffrey Zients, the White Home's prime COVID-19 official, told reporters on Wednesday. "So, supply of this product will ramp up over the next several months."

The brand new therapy comes as COVID-19 instances across the U.S. are surging, pushed by the extremely contagious Omicron variant. Over the past seven days, greater than 1.2 million Individuals have examined constructive for the illness, whereas 1,522 folks have died, according to the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The coronavirus has killed greater than 809,000 Individuals for the reason that pandemic erupted final 12 months.

In one other increase within the combat in opposition to COVID-19, extra antiviral pills are coming to market. For well being care professionals, the pills could show a life-saving therapy possibility as medical doctors face a nationwide scarcity of monoclonal antibodies to deal with high-risk instances of the illness. Nevertheless, most monoclonal formulation have been discovered to be ineffective in opposition to the Omicron variant.

The FDA on Thursday introduced it had approved molnupiravir, an antiviral drug produced by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, to deal with some adults with COVID-19 who're prone to extreme illness when no different choices can be found. White Home officers say some 3 million programs of molnupiravir will be accessible by the top of January.

"The efficacy is high, the side effects are low and it's oral. It checks all the boxes," Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic informed The Related Press this week. "You're looking at a 90% decreased risk of hospitalization and death in a high-risk group — that's stunning."

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