Pfizer Says Its Anti-COVID-19 Pill Reduces Death, Hospitalizations by 89%

Final trial studies show Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 pill significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death due to the virus by 89%, the company announced Tuesday (Dec. 14).

Pfizer sent out a press release stating that a lab test showed the drug should also work against the COVID-19 variant omicron.

“This news provides further corroboration that our oral antiviral candidate, if authorized or approved, could have a meaningful impact on the lives of many, as the data further support the efficacy of PAXLOVID in reducing hospitalization and death and show a substantial decrease in viral load. This underscores the treatment candidate’s potential to save the lives of patients around the world,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

Bourla added, “Emerging variants of concern, like omicron, have exacerbated the need for accessible treatment options for those who contract the virus, and we are confident that, if authorized or approved, this potential treatment could be a critical tool to help quell the pandemic.”

The pill, Paxlovid, is taken twice a day for five days immediately after a COVID-19 diagnosis. According to Pfizer, final results conclude that just 0.7% of the patients who took the pill in the double-blind trial were hospitalized. In turn, 6.5% of patients who received a placebo were hospitalized or died of the virus.

According to Pfizer, the “relative risk reduction was 94% in patients 65 years of age or older.” In addition, only 1.1% of people in that 65-plus age group that took the pill were either hospitalized or were killed by the virus.

Drug maker Merck also has a similar pill, which is under FDA review. If approved, both the Pfizer and Merck pills would mark first available oral treatment for COVID-19.

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