(CNN) — US President Joe Biden promised on Wednesday that more than 250,000 full treatments of Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral pill, will be available starting in January. The announcement came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared it to treat COVID-19.
“With today’s action, we add the first oral treatment to our nation’s medicine kit and take an important step on the way out of the pandemic,” said the president. “As soon as emerging science showed the promise of this antiviral, we moved quickly and aggressively to buy 10 million treatments in advance. More than any other country in the world.”
Then he added: “We will have more than 250,000 complete treatments available in January. And we will work with states to ensure that they are distributed equitably and fairly and that our most affected communities are reached.”
Biden pledges “necessary resources” to distribute Pfizer pill
The FDA authorized Paxlovid on Wednesday to treat COVID-19. Making it the first antiviral pill against the virus approved for sick people to take at home. Just before her symptoms get bad enough for her to be hospitalized.
High-risk individuals who are 12 years of age or older, weigh at least 40 kilograms, and test positive for COVID-19 are eligible for treatment. This must be prescribed by a doctor. The pill “should be started as soon as possible after the diagnosis of covid-19 and within five days after the onset of symptoms,” according to the FDA statement.
Paxlovid combines a new antiviral drug called nirmatrelvir and an older one called ritonavir. Last week, Pfizer released updated results showing that the treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% if given to high-risk adults within days of their first symptoms. When given within the first five days of symptoms, the efficacy was similar: 88%.
Biden promised “any resources necessary” to ensure distribution. Including the use of the Defense Production Law “if justified”.
Production of the pill takes 6 to 8 months
White House covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters that the treatment “dramatically reduces the risk of hospitalizations and deaths for those at risk.”
“According to Pfizer, the complex chemistry involved in creating the active ingredient in the pill means that production takes between six and eight months. So the supply of this product will increase in the coming months,” Zients said. “Knowing that these pills take time to manufacture, Pfizer continues to increase their production plans. And now that the pill is licensed, we will have discussions to explore how we can help them further improve their manufacturing capacity by providing the necessary resources.” .
According to Zients, the full 10 million treatments will be available by the end of the summer.
“As soon as Pfizer makes and delivers the pills, we will immediately provide them to states and jurisdictions for distribution,” Zients told reporters, with a focus on equitable distribution as needed.
“We are not only urging states to ensure fairness in their own distribution plans. We are also distributing antivirals directly to community health centers across the country. This will help ensure that these life-saving antivirals are available to communities. most vulnerable and hard-hit across the country.
CNN’s Jamie Gumbrecht and Amanda Sealy contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism