Longer Paxlovid course doesn't reduce risk of rebound, study finds

A small Oct. 6 study from the National Institutes of Health found that a longer course of Pfizer's COVID-19 treatment was not more effective than its recommended five-day regimen. 

Some health experts have questioned the length of Paxlovid courses, which is an FDA-approved pack of two drugs intended for people with high-risk for severe COVID-19, such as older populations and immunocompromised people. One microbiology and immunology Columbia University professor, David Ho, MD, told Time in August that "five days of treatment is not enough."

Dr. Ho is currently studying the efficacy of extending Paxlovid to seven to 10 days.

The risk of rebounding symptoms have caught eyes over the last few months after National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci, MD, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, PhD, all experienced a positive COVID-19 test days after completing their Paxlovid course. 

In a study of eight people who tested positive for COVID-19, six experienced rebounding symptoms after taking Paxlovid. But because the study found that a rebound is not related to an impaired immune response, the researchers concluded a longer course is not required to prevent a rebound case.

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