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Pfizer says its pill prevents severe illness, should work against Omicron variant

On Tuesday, Pfizer announced that its Covid pill saw success in preventing severe disease during clinical trials and is predicted to work against the Omicron variant as well.

According to the New York Times, health care workers are hoping this new treatment could ease the burden of the looming fourth wave of Covid-19 infections. With the promising results from the clinical trials, it is possible the Food and Drug Administration will approve the drug in the coming days.

If approved, patients may receive the treatment by the end of the year, in limited supply. Data from the clinical trials show that the antiviral pill reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 88% when given to unvaccinated people who are at a higher risk of severe illness within five days of the start of symptoms. 

Sara Cherry, a virologist at the Perelman School of Medicine, said, “This is quite amazing and potentially transformative. If we could keep people out of hospitals, that would have a huge impact on health care.”

This comes just after the CDC warned of a tidal wave of infections from the Omicron and Delta variants coming within the next month.

The recent results are based on an analysis of over 2,200 unvaccinated individuals who are at a higher risk of severe disease. The study showed that 0.7% of patients who received the antiviral drug, Paxlovid, were hospitalized within 28 days of starting the trial with no deaths. However, 6.5% of those who received the placebo were hospitalized or died.

Despite the trial’s success, health care providers are faced with some obstacles once the drug becomes available. Patients will need both a positive coronavirus test and a prescription for Paxlovid all within five days of developing symptoms. 

ARTICLE: JILLIAN WEIDNER

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES

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I was born and raised in Omaha, NE before moving to Sioux Falls, SD to attend college at Augustana University. This past May I graduated from Augustana with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Biology with an emphasis in Allied Health. I first discovered FBA through my involvement with Turning Point USA where I worked as a Campus Coordinator in college. I have a passion for politics and activism, and was drawn to FBA’s dedication to spreading the truth. Unbiased news is rare in today’s society, so I wanted to be a part of FBA’s mission to change that.

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