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Britain approves Pfizer's antiviral COVID-19 pill

Britain approves Pfizer's antiviral COVID-19 pill

FILE PHOTO: Paxlovid, a Pfizer's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pill, is seen manufactured in Ascoli, Italy, in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on November 16, 2021. Pfizer/Handout via REUTERS

Britain has approved Pfizer's COVID-19 pill for patients over the age of 18 years who have mild to moderate infection and are at high risk of their illness worsening.

The approval comes as the country scrambles to build its defences amid a daily record of new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, government data showed. 

Based on data, the pill, Paxlovid, is most effective when taken during the early stages of COVID-19, Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said on Friday (Dec 31), recommending that the drug be used within five days of the onset of symptoms.

Pfizer this month said Paxlovid showed near 90 per cent efficacy in preventing hospitalisations and deaths in high-risk patients, and recent lab data suggests the drug retains its effectiveness against the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

"We now have a further antiviral medicine for the treatment of COVID-19 that can be taken by mouth rather than administered intravenously. This means it can be administered outside a hospital setting," MHRA chief June Raine said in a statement.

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Source: Reuters/gs

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