Paxlovid, a COVID-19-fighting antiviral oral medication developed by Pfizer, received emergency approval from the Health Ministry on Sunday.
Israel has negotiated a deal with Pfizer for the medicine, according to the government, and a shipment is anticipated to arrive in the coming days.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval for the drug to anyone aged 12 and up last week. The medicine is believed to have minor side effects and has been found to reduce hospitalizations and deaths in individuals who are most likely to get a serious illness by nearly 90%.
Patients will be able to take the medicine at home to prevent the virus’s worst consequences. Patients who are at the highest risk of COVID-19 problems are advised to take the medication for five days, beginning three to five days after the onset of symptoms, according to the ministry. Because it does not target the spike protein, which contains the majority of the strain’s problematic mutations, it is likely to be as efficient against the new Omicron version.
The government did not specify how many doses of the drug Israel has ordered or how many will be delivered in the initial shipment.
However, Channel 12 news reported on Saturday that Israel had sealed an arrangement to buy 100,000 pills, and that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had met with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla over the weekend to clinch the sale. According to the article, persons in high-risk groups in Israel will be able to get the anti-COVID medication for free.
Following a deal last year with Pfizer to get a substantial number of vaccine doses before many other countries, Israel was an early leader in COVID-19 vaccinations, specifically Pfizer’s.
On Wednesday, US health regulators approved the use of a Pfizer pill, which was followed by approval of a Merck medicine the next day. However, due of its minimal side effects and higher effectiveness, Pfizer’s medicine, Paxlovid, is almost certain to be the favoured treatment.
“The efficacy is high, the side effects are low, and it’s oral. It checks all the boxes ,” Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Gregory Poland stated. “You’re looking at a 90% decreased risk of hospitalisation and death in a high-risk group — that’s stunning.”
Although initial supplies are limited, the tablet is being marketed as a speedier and less expensive means to treat early COVID-19 infections. All of the previously approved anti-disease medications require an IV or injection.
Pfizer’s drug is a protease inhibitor, a class of antiviral agents that has changed HIV and hepatitis C treatment for decades. The medications prevent viruses from multiplying in the human body by inhibiting a critical enzyme.
Pfizer presently has 180,000 treatment courses accessible around the world, with 60,000 to 70,000 in the United States. By the end of January, the business aims to have 250,000 units available in the United States. Each session of Pfizer’s therapy will cost the US roughly $500.
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