U.K. Authorizes Pfizer’s Antiviral Covid-19 Pill

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The MHRA follows in the footsteps of the FDA in authorizing Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill.

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Courtesy of Pfizer

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The UK drug regulator has authorized the COVID-19 oral antiviral pill developed by Pfizer, as the country faces the biggest wave of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

A green light for Paxlovid by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) seen to boost Pfizer (ticker: PFE) stock, which rose 1.8% on Friday, outperformed a slight decline for the S&P 500 index.

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The MHRA said on Friday that Paxlovid was safe and effective in reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in people with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection at risk of developing severe disease. The pill is approved for people 18 years of age and older with mild to moderate infections and at least one risk factor for developing severe disease, including obesity, older age, diabetes, or heart disease.

“Today we have given our regulatory approval for Paxlovid, a COVID-19 treatment that has been found to reduce hospitalizations related to Covid-19 and deaths within three days of the onset of symptoms by 89%, ” Doctor. June Raine, chief executive officer of the UK drug regulator, said in a statement,

“We now have another antiviral drug to treat COVID-19 that can be taken by mouth rather than administered intravenously,” Raine said. “This means it can be administered outside a hospital setting, before COVID-19 progresses to a severe stage.”

The drug regulator said it was too early to know whether the more contagious – but apparently mild – Omicron version of the virus would have any effect on the effectiveness of Paxlovid. MHRA said it is working with Pfizer to set this up.

Amid the spread of Omicron, the UK is experiencing its highest level of COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. About 190,000 people tested positive on Thursday alone government data,

The US Food and Drug Administration granted authorization to Paxlovid last week. MHRA had earlier authorized Merck’s (MRK) COVID-19 oral antiviral, Molnupiravir.

Write to Jack Denton at [email protected]

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