Encouraging news for Pfizer's COVID vaccine and pill

Encouraging news for Pfizer's vaccine and anti-COVID pill

MISE & Agrave; DAY

Encouraging news continues for Pfizer: the pharmaceutical giant confirmed on Tuesday that its anti-COVID pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths in people at risk by almost 90% when taken in the first days after onset of symptoms. & nbsp;

And a study in South Africa separately estimated that Pfizer's vaccine was less effective overall against the Omicron variant, but still provided 70% protection against severe cases of the disease.

Important data and qualified as “encouraging” at a time when this highly contagious variant, classified as worrying by the World Health Organization (WHO), is spreading around the world. Due to the large number of mutations in Omicron, scientists feared when it was detected a disaster scenario in which vaccines would be rendered ineffective.

The American company markets one of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines on the planet, and in parallel is developing an antiviral treatment, taken in tablet form in the event of infection.

The latter , which will be sold as Paxlovid, is expected to remain effective against Omicron based on lab tests, Pfizer also announced on Tuesday.

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“Save lives”

The efficacy results presented on Tuesday for this anti-COVID pill are based on all of the participants in clinical trials, i.e. more than 2,200 people, and confirm what was announced in early November from preliminary results./p>

No deaths were recorded among those who received the treatment, compared to 12 deaths in the group that received the placebo. Participants were unvaccinated and at high risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19. & Nbsp;

Treatment should be taken for five days, every 12 hours. Side effects were generally “moderate,” according to Pfizer.

In detail, the risk of hospitalization and death was reduced by 89% when treatment was taken within three days of symptom onset, and by 88% within five days. & Nbsp;

“This highlights the potential of this (drug) candidate to save the lives of patients around the world,” said Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, quoted in a statement. “Variants of concern like Omicron have exacerbated the need for accessible treatment options for those who contract the virus,” he added.

Pfizer had previously announced that it had filed an application for authorization with the United States Medicines Agency (FDA), and this new data will be added to the file.

In addition, Pfizer released preliminary results on Tuesday this time on patients who are not at risk (unvaccinated and not at particular risk of developing a severe case of the disease, or at risk but vaccinated). & nbsp;

They have shown a 70% reduction in hospitalizations, according to the company, but the data needs to be confirmed and the trial is continuing.

Antivirals work by decreasing a virus's ability to to replicate, thereby slowing down the disease. These treatments represent a key complement to vaccines to protect against COVID-19, in particular because they are very easy to administer, being able to be taken simply at home with a glass of water.

Merck is also developing a pill of this type, already authorized in the United Kingdom but not yet in the United States.

Protection of the vaccine

In Africa South, the first country to detect Omicron, a study on the effectiveness of Pfizer's vaccine against this variant was carried out using 78,000 PCR tests obtained between November 15 and December 7. & nbsp;

The study shows 33% effectiveness against the risk of contamination, with a high number of re-infections. That is a clear drop compared to the 80% protection against infections by the previous dominant variant, Delta. & Nbsp;

But the vaccine remained 70% effective against hospitalizations (against 93% against Delta) , said the researchers, which is still considered a significant level of protection. & nbsp;

This protection is additionally seen in all age groups, according to the study, which was developed by the country's first private health insurance, Discovery, with scientists from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

The president of SAMRC, a public medical research organization, Glenda Gray, has ruled these results “extremely encouraging”, recalling that “the vaccine is designed to protect against hospitalizations and death”. & nbsp;

“Despite less severe cases, health systems could be overwhelmed by the volume contaminations, given the rapid spread of Omicron ”, Formerly advised Discovery President Ryan Noach.

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