WHO Endorses Pfizer COVID-19 Pill

Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed Pfizer’s Paxlovid—a combination of nirmatrelvir, which inhibits coronavirus replication, and ritonavir, an HIV inhibitor that slows the liver’s breakdown of nirmatrelvir—for COVID-19 patients without severe disease who are at high risk of hospitalization.

The experts’ panel cited new data from two clinical trials involving 3,100 patients, which found Paxlovid effective in treating patients with little or no risk of severe side effects when given within five days of the onset of symptoms. 

The panel also issued a weak recommendation for using the antiviral drug remdesivir for patients with non-severe COVID-19 at high risk of hospitalization, replacing earlier guidance against its use in any COVID patients based on new data from five clinical trials.

The WHO experts panel said the guidelines are to be used as a “living” document that is updated as new information comes in. 

The panel also said they are evaluating several other medicines, including antidepressant, fluvoxamine, which has shown promise as a potential COVID treatment. 

The panel added they are also considering colchicine, an anti-inflammatory, and anticoagulation therapy, as well as evaluating whether GlaxoSmithKline and Vir’s antibody treatment sotrovimab is effective against BA.1 and BA.2 omicron variants.

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