(WXYZ) — Pfizer’s experimental pill to treat COVID-19 is almost 90% effective - that’s according to an interim analysis. The drug company says its clinical trials were so successful, medical experts recommended stopping the studies early.
It’s an oral antiviral pill. And it was given to patients in Pfizer’s clinical trials along with another medication called Ritonavir.
Ritonavir has been widely used for years. It’s an antiviral drug that can be prescribed to help treat HIV. Now in Pfizer’s study, there were 775 adults that took part. All of them were unvaccinated. They all were considered to be high risk due to health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
These patients were randomly assigned to groups. They were given either the drug combination or a placebo - which is a dummy pill - within 3 days or within 5 days after symptoms started. Overall, the patients that received the antiviral combination were found to have an 89% reduction in hospitalization or death after a month, when compared to the patients who had received a placebo pill. Which is pretty amazing. Now here’s the breakdown of numbers:
- 0.8% of patients who received Pfizer’s drug combination within three days ended up being hospitalized within four weeks. Whereas 7% of patients given placebos end up being hospitalized. Sadly, 7 of those patients getting the placebo died within a month. Whereas there were zero deaths in the group that received Pfizer’s combo treatment.
- As for the group of patients treated within five days of symptoms starting, 1% that were given Pfizer’s drug combination were hospitalized through Day 28. Compared to 6.7% of patients who received a placebo. There were no deaths reported in either of these two groups.
According to Pfizer, 19% of patients given the experimental pill reported adverse events. What these adverse events are, we don’t know yet. Details have not been released. But I also want to point out that 21% of the patients given a placebo pill also reported adverse events. Placebo pills tend to be sugar pills or a harmless substance that contains no active ingredients and therefore should not cause side effects. Now, if Pfizer’s experiment pill does receive FDA approval in the future, will vaccines no longer be needed? And my answer is no. Pfizer’s pill will not replace COVID-19 vaccines. The goal of this pill is to lower death rates and keep our hospitals from filling up. But vaccines are still our best protection against the virus. And those who have not been vaccinated yet should do so soon.
If you have concerns or are hesitant, it’s important to do research. And I’m talking about real research. Not just read some random article that was shared on social media. Go to legit sites and look at actual studies and medical articles. Misinformation can really lead folks astray. You can also talk with your family doctor as well. But get your info from real sources.
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Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
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