Patients can take more of COVID pill after relapse, Pfizer CEO says
Why it matters: Paxlovid is a drug authorized to help treat those at high risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms. But some patients are relapsing and experiencing symptoms again.
Driving the news: “Paxlovid does what it has to do: It reduces the viral load,” Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla told Bloomberg. “Then your body is supposed to do the job.”
Yes, but: Bourla said the drug doesn't always clear out the coronavirus during the first run of treatment for unknown reasons.
- If that happens, patients should seek more of the pill, he said.
The bigger picture: Paxlovid, which originally received emergency use authorization in December for high-risk individuals infected by COVID-19, has been shown to reduce hospitalization risks for vulnerable adults.
- The drug has to be given when someone tests positive for COVID-19, often within dive days before COVID-19 symptoms begin.
The latest: About 80,000 COVID patients were treated with the pill in the U.S. in the week ending on April 22, per CNBC.
- More than 33,000 locations in the U.S. have a supply of the drug, Bourla said, per CNBC.
Of note: Vice President Kamala Harris, who tested positive for COVID-19 about one week ago, had been taking Paxlovid.
What's next: U.S. government researchers are planning to study how and why COVID patients experience a relapse.
- Where to get Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral in the D.C. region
- Why Vice President Harris is taking COVID pills despite not having symptoms
- Pfizer: COVID pill reduces risk by 89% in vulnerable adults