According to the findings of recent research, the Covid-19 treatment Paxlovid, which is manufactured by Pfizer, decreased the number of hospitalizations and deaths that occurred in older patients during the Omicron surge that occurred earlier this year in Israel. However, the drug had no effect on patients under the age of 65 who were at a high risk for developing a severe disease.
This research is one of the very first published investigations into how successful Paxlovid is in combating the Omicron variety of the coronavirus, which is now the most common form of the virus. Only uninfected people took part in the clinical trials of Paxlovid that were carried out by Pfizer last year. These studies took place amid a rise of the Delta variant.
There are still some unanswered issues about the efficacy of the medicine against the Omicron form, as well as among individuals who have been vaccinated or who have some protection from a previous case of Covid. Since December, people in the United States have been allowed to purchase the medication.
The current research did not investigate a another important question, which is how often individuals encounter “rebound” episodes of Covid after taking the medication. On Monday, Jill Biden, the first lady of the United States, was allowed to leave the isolation unit for the second time after her infection returned after treatment with Paxlovid.
On Friday, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, said on Twitter that while there was confusion over who should take Paxlovid, the data still indicated that it should be administered to anyone aged 50 and older as soon as they develop Covid symptoms, as well as to anyone with health conditions that leave them vulnerable to severe illness. He added that while there was confusion over who should take Paxlovid, the data still indicated that it should be administered to anyone with health conditions that leave them
However, other research has revealed that the treatment may enhance results, despite the fact that the Israeli study showed that the medication had no effect for persons aged 40 to 64 years old who had underlying health issues. Patients aged 50 to 64 were included in one research in Hong Kong that found advantages; however, the work has not yet been subjected to peer review or published in a journal.
Researchers at the Massachusetts General Brigham health system discovered that Paxlovid dramatically decreased hospitalizations among patients aged 50 to 64. The researchers found that the drug had a more apparent impact on persons who had not been vaccinated and those who were obese.
On Twitter, Dr. Jha said that there was no basis for the belief that the advantages of the medicine would solely accrue to groups who were either older or more susceptible. Paxlovid is readily available in the United States, according to him, and there are not many negative reactions to the medication.
Pfizer’s own studies found that taking Paxlovid within the first five days of the onset of symptoms resulted in an 88 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalizations and deaths among unvaccinated individuals who were at high risk for severe COVID. This was the case only when the drug was taken within the first five days of the symptom onset.
The findings of the current study, which were presented on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrated that the medication was successful for the most part in treating older Covid patients.
Other contributors were Dr. Doron Netzer, Ariel Hammerman, and Yael Wolff Sagy, all of whom were linked with Clalit Health Services, a major Israeli health care provider. The researchers looked at the medical records of over 110,000 people from Clalit who tested positive for Covid during the months of January and March, which was the time period in which the Omicron variety predominated.
Patients were required to be at least 40 years old and were categorised as having a high probability of suffering from a serious illness. The majority had either had a vaccination or had a history of infection with the COVID strain, or both. Patients had an average age of 60 years old, and more than half of them were female.
Paxlovid was used to treat around 4,000 people, and the researchers discovered that the medicine had a very high success rate when it was given to those aged 65 and older.
766 people who did not obtain Paxlovid were hospitalised for Covid, whereas only 11 patients who got Paxlovid were hospitalised for Covid. This results in a relative decrease in risk of 73% among the 42,821 patients who were 65 and older.
In elderly patients who were treated with Paxlovid, there was a significant decrease in the number of deaths. A risk reduction of 79 percent was achieved due to the fact that just two out of 2,484 treated patients passed away, as opposed to 158 out of 40,337 untreated patients.
Even though the medication does not seem to have much of an effect on younger and middle-aged persons, he stated that some doctors could still opt to administer it to patients who are less than 65 years old.