The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of Pfizer’s new pill for the treatment of Covid-19.
The approval marks a major milestone as the oral drug is the first at-home treatment for Covid-19.
Clinical trial showed Pfizer’s antiviral pill was 90% effective in preventing extreme sickness requiring hospitalization and potential death in patients where there is a grave risk of severe illness.
Recent lab results also suggested it is effective against the fast-spreading omicron variant.
The US has authorized the Pfizer pill for treating mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults and children 12 years of age and older who weigh a minimum of 40 kilos (88 pounds) and are at high risk of developing severe symptoms of the disease.
Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Patrizia Cavazzoni, in a statement said, “This authorization provides a new tool to combat Covid-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge and promises to make antiviral treatment more accessible to patients who are at high risk for progression to severe Covid-19.”
It said the drug will be administered by prescription only and should be taken within the first five days of a Covid-19 diagnosis.
It also recommended that the pill should be taken every 12 hours over the course of five days beginning as soon as possible with the onset of symptoms.
International news agency, Reuters, reports that US President Joe Biden said the pill was a “significant step forward” on the path towards ending the pandemic, and his administration would work towards ensuring equitable distribution.
He is also reported as saying a law would be invoked to ensure Pfizer could ramp up production.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri