Paxlovid the trade name of a new drug by Pfizer that is based on ritonavir an already available AIDS drug could be a game-changer in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. The company claims that this repurposed molecule already used to treat HIV infections is also 89% effective in preventing the risk of hospitalization and death following SARS-CoV-2 infection. Pfizer plans to submit an application to the FDA as soon as possible.
Old HIV Drug
SARS-CoV-2 protease is a key enzyme in the replication of the virus that allows it to spread in the body. Pfizer has developed a molecule, Paxlovid, that can specifically inhibit this enzyme, according to a Pfizer press release.
To evaluate its efficacy, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2/3 trial has been launched in July 2021. Given the spectacular results that the drug showed, it was decided to stop the trial ahead of schedule. The clinical trial included 1,219 patients, all of whom were Covid-19 positive, not hospitalized, and with at least one risk factor for developing a severe form of the disease. The treatment is taken orally every 12 hours for 5 days.
Treatment of the most vulnerable should be started as soon as possible.
If taken within 3 days of symptom onset, paxlovid reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by 89%. On day 28, the hospitalization rate was 0.8% and the number of patients who died was zero in the treated group, compared to 7% hospitalizations and 7 deaths in the control group.
When taken within 5 days of symptom onset, the results remained significant: 1% of patients hospitalized and no deaths in the treatment group, compared to 6.7% of patients hospitalized and 10 deaths in the control group. There were no more adverse events in the treated group than in the control group.
In short, this new drug could eliminate 9 out of 10 hospital admissions! Pfizer plans to submit an application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the FDA as soon as possible.