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COVID pill may get OK’d this week

COVID pill may get OK’d this week

With the Omicron variant causing serious concern that the health care systems in North America could be overwhelmed US health regulators may get the green light for the first COVID treatment pills, possibly this week.

Bloomberg News is reporting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will give the go-ahead for Pfizer and Merck to launch treatments perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

Amid a surge in cases caused by the Omicron virus variant, the approval of the Paxlovid (Pfizer) and molnupiravir (Merck) pills would come at a time “when we absolutely need it”, said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.

“It’s a sign of light in a very long tunnel. But its extraordinary promise will not get realized unless we pull out all the stops to quickly get it made and distributed at mass scale.”

Paxlovid reportedly  performed well in clinical trials, showing almost 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalization and death in high-risk patients.

Molnupiravir ran into a snag over the possibility that it might cause pregnancy problems and even birth defects, but after further reviews it also received a recommendation of approval.. Last month the UK became the first in the world to approve the twice-daily pill, which is targeted at the elderly and those most vulnerable to severe disease.

The US government has ordered 10m courses of the Pfizer pill and about 3m from Merck, Bloomberg said. But the medicines are not expected to immediately be widely available.

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