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Published: 12:42, December 15, 2021 | Updated: 18:53, December 15, 2021
Pfizer confirms high efficacy of COVID-19 antiviral pill
By Xinhua
Published:12:42, December 15, 2021 Updated:18:53, December 15, 2021 By Xinhua

An elderly couple wearing protective face masks against COVID-19 walks past the Pfizer Inc headquarters on Dec 9, 2020 in New York City. (ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

NEW YORK - US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc Tuesday said final results show that its novel COVID-19 oral antiviral tablets could reduce risk of hospitalization or death by close to 90 percent for high-risk patients.

The results, based on an analysis of over 2,000 patients in a phase 2/3 trial, were consistent with the interim analysis announced in November 2021, according to a release by Pfizer on Tuesday.

The risk of hospitalization or death was reduced by 89 percent compared to placebo in non-hospitalized, high-risk adult patients with COVID-19 treated within three days of symptom onset, said Pfizer.

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.

Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer

The treatment of patients by the oral antiviral pill within five days of symptom onset reduced risk of hospitalization or death by 88 percent up from 85 percent shown in the interim analysis, Pfizer added.

Pfizer has shared the final results with the US Food and Drug Administration as part of an ongoing rolling submission for emergency use authorization regarding the COVID-19 oral antiviral candidate.

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"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," said Albert Bourla, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer.

Moreover, the oral antiviral pill reduced the risk of hospitalization by 70 percent in regards to standard-risk patients, according to interim analyses of another phase 2/3 trial by Pfizer.

The pill reduced viral load by approximately 10-fold at the fifth day of treatment compared with placebo in both the trials with high-risk and standard-risk patients, according to the release.

READ MORE: Pfizer's vaccine trial questioned over data integrity

On Nov 30, an advisory panel to the FDA recommended the authorization of a COVID-19 antiviral pill, which is developed by Merck & Co, Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP with at least 30 percent of efficacy than a placebo at preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 infections.

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