Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral oral treatment has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the treatment of individuals who are at high risk for hospitalisation. Although, accessibility is one of the biggest issues. An issue the world faced with getting Covid-19 vaccine supplies.
PAXLOVID IS NOT IN SOUTH AFRICA
WHO “strongly recommend” Paxlovid for patients with non-severe Covid-19 who are at the highest risk of developing severe disease and hospitalisation, such as unvaccinated, older, or immunosuppressed patients.
“This recommendation is based on new data from two randomized controlled trials involving 3078 patients. The data show that the risk of hospitalisation is reduced by 85% following this treatment. In a high-risk group, over 10% risk of hospitalisation, that means 84 fewer hospitalizations per 1000 patients,”
said the World Health Organisation
Although the latest information available from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, an application for Paxlovid for adults diagnosed with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 has been submitted by Pfizer and is under consideration.
The health authority says many issues surround the drug such as availability, lack of price transparency in bilateral deals made by the producer, and the need for prompt and accurate testing before administering Paxlovid.
“There is a lack of transparency on the part of the originator company making it difficult for public health organisations to obtain an accurate picture of the availability of the medicine, which countries are involved in bilateral deals and what they are paying,”
The WHO said it was extremely concerned that low and middle-income countries will suffer the most as they are relegated to the back of the global queue for Paxlovid when it comes to accessing this treatment.
WHAT IS PAXLOVID?
According to Pfizer, Paxlovid is a medicine used to treat mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in adults and children 12 years of age and older who have tested Covid-19 positive and are at high risk for severe Covid-19, including hospitalisation or death.
Paxlovid consists of two medicines nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The two pink tablets of nirmatrelvir with one white tablet of ritonavir are taken once in the morning and once in the evening for 5 days after testing positive.
However, the medication needs to be prescribed by a healthcare professional.