Pfizer antiviral effective against omicron, research shows

Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral pill Paxlovid appears effective against the omicron variant, the drugmaker said Jan. 18. 

Pfizer cited three separate laboratory studies, which showed that nirmatrelvir — the drug's main component — maintained effectiveness against omicron. Pfizer's Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD, said the company is "encouraged by these initial laboratory findings," which have not been peer reviewed. 

The FDA granted Paxlovid emergency use authorization for people at high risk of severe COVID-19 in December. The federal government has purchased 20 million courses of the antiviral pill, with the first 10 million courses set to be delivered by the end of June.

Though supplies are currently low, Paxlovid is seen as a key tool in the COVID-19 fight. Clinical trials found the treatment reduces the risk of hospitalization or death among COVID-19 patients by 89 percent. 

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