The pharmaceutical giant will rush to ask the Food and Drugs Administration to authorise the antiviral pill after results showed an 89 per cent reduction in their combined rate of hospitalisation or death after a month.
Pfizer’s experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 can cut hospitalisation and death rates by nearly 90 per cent, according to the pharmaceutical giant.
The company released its first preliminary findings into the the capsule from a study of 775 adults.
Patients taking the pill along with another antiviral had an 89 per cent reduction in their combined rate of hospitalisation or death after a month, compared to those who took a placebo.
Less than one per cent needed hospitalisation after taking the capsule and no one died.
In comparison, seven per cent were admitted to hospital and there were seven deaths in people who took the dummy drug.
“We were hoping that we had something extraordinary, but it’s rare that you see great drugs come through with almost 90 per cent efficacy and 100 per cent protection for death,” said Pfizer’s Chief Scientific Sfficer, Dr. Mikael Dolsten.
Participants part of the study were unvaccinated, had mild to moderate COVID-19, and were labelled as high risk patients for hospitalisation due to health problems such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease.
Treatment was given three to five days of the onset of symptoms and continued for a total of five days.
Pfizer reported few side effects of the pill but maintained they were mild and the rates of problems between the groups sat around 20 per cent.
The company will ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and international regulators to authorise the pill as soon as possible after independent medical experts halted the trial following the successful results when used with an older antiviral called ritonavir.
A decision could be handed down by the FDA within weeks or months.
The treatment will be named Paxlovid and will see coronavirus-infected people take three pills twice a day.
Rival Merck’s COVID-19 pill is currently under review by the administration after showing strong initial results as well.
The United Kingdom approved the world-first capsule on Thursday.
It will be the first easy-to-use medication against coronavirus with vaccines the only current protection from the highly infectious virus.
Top US health officials maintain the jab is still the best way to be protected but easy-to-use treatments will be important in preventing further waves across the world.