EU reviews Pfizer’s COVID antiviral pill for emergency use

EU reviews Pfizer’s COVID antiviral pill for emergency use

Amsterdam – The European Union’s drug regulator said it has begun evaluating Pfizer’s coronavirus pills to see if they can be used in emergency situations before they are officially authorized.

The European Medicines Agency, in a statement on Friday, said it was looking at data on the effectiveness of Pfizer’s antiviral contraceptive pill when given to people with COVID-19 who have not yet been hospitalized but are at risk of severe disease.

The agency said early results indicate that Pfizer’s pills reduce the risk of hospitalization or death, compared to people who received a dummy pill, when they were treated within three to five days of developing symptoms of COVID-19.

Although a more comprehensive evaluation is likely to begin soon, “this current review will provide EU-wide recommendations in the shortest possible time frame so that they can be used by national authorities wishing to make evidence-based decisions on early use of the drug,” he said. regulator.

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Europe is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many countries facing disease spikes amid slowing vaccination rates. On Friday, Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that the country would go into a national lockdown and that COVID-19 vaccines would be mandatory by next year.

Pfizer said earlier this month that its pills reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by up to 90 percent. The company reported few details about the side effects, but said the rates of problems were similar between the two groups at around 20%.

An independent group of medical experts monitoring the trial has recommended stopping it early, a standard procedure when interim results show such a clear benefit. The data has not yet been published for external review, which is the normal process for examining new medical research.

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Most treatments for COVID-19 require an intravenous injection. Merck’s competitor COVID-19 pills have been licensed by Britain, and Pfizer’s pills are under study by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, researchers around the world have been racing to find a COVID-19 pill that can be taken at home to relieve symptoms, speed recovery and keep people out of the hospital.

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