The United States has ordered 10 million kits of paxlovid, Pfizer-developed anti-COVID-19 pills. US President Joe Biden announced that the first deliveries of the drug are expected before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the new drug is still waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“While this antiviral pill still requires a full FDA evaluation, I have taken immediate steps to ensure that Americans have enough medicine. Today I announce that we have purchased 10 million sets of Pfizer antiviral tablets against COVID-19,” Joe Biden said in a statement published by White House.
The American leader announced that deliveries of the drug would begin before the end of the year and added that he intended to make the drug easily available and free.
Biden stressed that while the new drug could prove to be “a key tool in the arsenal” to recover from the pandemic, vaccines currently remain the most powerful weapon. He noted that as a result of the approval of vaccines for children from 5 years of age, 95 percent. Americans are eligible for immunization. “My message is still: get vaccinated. Vaccines are safe, free and readily available. Don’t wait. Get vaccinated today,” appealed Biden.
Paxlovid – Pfizera’s drug against COVID-19
The antiviral tablet of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer is the second drug of this type that has been shown to be effective against COVID-19. The first is molnupiravir – tablet from Merck & Co.which has already been conditionally approved by the UK medicines regulator but is still pending approval in the US and the EU.
Paxlovid is a combination of a newly developed substance intended to stop the reproduction of the virus in the body and ritonavir, an agent used in AIDS patients. On Tuesday, Pfizer said it had sought approval from the FDA to market the drug as an emergency. The company’s clinical trial was discontinued prematurely due to overwhelming evidence of the drug’s effectiveness. The results indicated that the drug reduced the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19 in particularly vulnerable patients by 89%.
According to the Washington Post, production of the Pfizer agent has already started at plants in Ireland, Germany and Italy. The company plans to produce 180,000 packages of the drug by the end of this year and 50 million by the end of next year.
The US is not the first country to order this drug. Previously, the UK ordered 250,000 packages (in addition to 480,000 kits of molnupiravir).
Main photo source: EPA / Ting Shen / POOL