The US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized Pfizer’s antiviral pill, Paxlovid, to treat Covid-19. According to CNN, This is the first antiviral Covid-19 pill authorized for ill people to take at home before they get sick enough to be hospitalized.

High-risk individuals age 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and have a positive SARS-CoV-2 test are eligible for this treatment and will need to have it prescribed by a doctor.

The pill “should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of Covid-19 and within five days of symptom onset,” according to an FDA statement. Paxlovid combines a new antiviral drug named nirmatrelvir and an older one called ritonavir and is administered as three pills given twice a day for five days.

ABC News reported that the FDA said the pill, Paxlovid, was authorized for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease in anyone 12 years and older who weighs at least about 88 pounds. Patients must test positive and be at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

Paxlovid will be available by prescription only and should be started as soon as possible, ideally within five days of symptom onset, the FDA said. “This authorization provides a new tool to combat COVID-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge and promises to make antiviral treatment more accessible to patients who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19,” Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a press release.


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