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Open bottle with pills on the outside. Image to illustrate note of pills for COVID-19
The early arrival of pills to combat the coronavirus was recently announced. Photo: Pixabay.

Magic pills? More weapons to avoid dying from COVID

Last week, two new drugs were announced to treat the most serious symptoms of COVID-19, bringing encouraging news amid the rebound of the disease in Europe.

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Two new treatments aimed at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death for patients infected with COVID-19 made headlines last week, especially as they are drugs that will be administered orally in pill form

Molnupiravir — Merck

The United Kingdom became the first country in the world to give the green light to the pill manufactured by American pharmaceutical giant, Merck. 

The Drug Regulatory Agency (MHRA) endorsed the drug and stated that it is safe and can reduce the risks of dying from the virus and being hospitalized.

Sajid Javid, Minister of Health, assured that the arrival of the new COVID treatment will significantly improve the scenario of the pandemic for immunocompromised patients — one of the most vulnerable groups during the health crisis.

According to the clinical trial, the use of the antiviral, which reduces the reproductive capacity of the coronavirus, offers a double benefit: One, it stops the most serious symptoms of the disease, and two, it reduces the chances of hospitalization by 50% if received within days following a positive COVID diagnosis.

While the United Kingdom is ahead of the United States in authorizing the use of the drug, for now, the pharmaceutical company has not announced precisely when it will be available to the public. Likewise, Merck announced that the drug will be sold at prices that adjust to the income index of each country, established by the World Bank, and announced the launch of an agreement to produce the drug locally with an Indian company.

Paxlovid — Pfizer

Also promising to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus — in this case by 90% — Pfizer also announced the launch of its Paxlovid pill, which it began developing in March 2020 as the first drug designed specifically to combat the coronavirus.

Thanks to the positive results of a clinical trial, it is not necessary to test more people, and the hope is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will grant authorization for emergency use in a short time.

According to data from Pfizer, the new antiviral drug, in addition to reducing the most severe cases of the disease, could also prevent up to nine out of 10 hospitalizations.

The trial used information obtained from testing 1,219 adults from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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