Paxlovid, Pfizer's Newest COVID-19 Drug

In an effort to suppress COVID-19 cases, experts do not stop innovating to create drugs that are effective in eradicating this disease. In addition to the Merck company with its newest drug, Molnupiravir, Pfizer recently released the results of a clinical trial of the COVID-19 drug it has developed, namely Paxlovid. How does it work and is it effective?

Paxlovid, Pfizer's COVID-19 drug

Paxlovid belongs to a class of antivirals called protease inhibitors. This drug is available in pill form that must be taken orally or taken by mouth.

The drug, developed by the Pfizer trademark, is aimed specifically at blocking an enzyme that the SARS-CoV-2 virus needs to multiply.

The beginning of the development of this drug began with Pfizer's flashback in creating a drug to fight SARS infection in 2003. From there, researchers found that one of the drugs worked effectively against the COVID-19 virus.

Pfizer then developed a new oral drug candidate that works specifically against the COVID-19 virus, named PF-07321332.

How Paxlovid works

Protease inhibitor drugs such as Paxlovid work by preventing the replication or formation of large amounts of the virus.

The trick is to stop the ability of enzymes in the virus to break down proteins. This protein breakdown process is what makes the virus replicate and multiply.

Inhibiting viral replication is expected to slow or even prevent infection from occurring because the amount of virus in the body remains low. Thus, the immune system can prevent the body from experiencing severe symptoms due to COVID-19 infection.

Are Pfizer drugs effective against COVID-19?

Based on the results of clinical trials released by Pfizer, the oral drug Paxlovid was found to be effective in reducing the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, the risk of hospitalization, and preventing death.

Results from phase 2 and 3 clinical trials conducted by Pfizer show that the drug is nearly 90% effective in preventing disease severity.

The clinical trial involved 1,200 participants with COVID-19 infection who were at risk for severe symptoms, such as having risk factors such as obesity and the elderly. In the study, participants were given the drug Paxlovid and a placebo.

The result, participants who took the drug Paxlovid had a reduced risk of hospitalization and death when compared to participants who took the placebo drug. A placebo is a blank drug that is used as a comparison or test of the actual effectiveness of the drug.

Reportedly none of the participants died during the 28 days after treatment with Paxlovid. However, as many as 10 participants who received placebo drugs were declared dead.

The effectiveness of the drug will increase if given as early as possible. Clinical trial results show that administering the drug within 5 days of the onset of symptoms reduces the risk of hospitalization by 50%.

Another good news, clinical trials by Pfizer also show that the drug Paxlovid is effective against various variants of COVID-19, especially the variant of concern (VOC) type.

So far, no severe side effects have been reported from the use of the drug Paxlovid. Participants who received this drug generally experienced mild side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, the safety of this drug for pregnant and lactating women is also not known.

However, experts stress that the presence of a drug like Paxlovid will not end the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the main keys to solving a pandemic is by giving vaccinations to achieve herd immunity in a group.

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