China gives approval for the use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 drug Paxlovid

On February 12, the Chinese medical products regulator said that the country has given approval for the use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 drug Paxlovid, making it the first oral pill specifically developed to treat the disease cleared in the country.

So far the drug has been allowed to use in almost 40 countries across the world and China became the latest country to give the approval. China has given emergency use approval to Pfizer’s Covid-19 oral pill Paxlovid. The National Medical Products Administration said Paxlovid has obtained conditional approval to treat adults who have mild to moderate COVID-19 and a high risk of progressing to a severe condition.

Paxlovid- Pfizer’s antiviral pill

Paxlovid is a combination of Pfizer’s investigational antiviral PF-07321332 and a low dose of ritonavir, an antiretroviral medication traditionally used to treat HIV. The treatment disrupts the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in the body by binding to the 3CL-like protease, an enzyme crucial to the virus’ function and reproduction.

The drug was found to be so effective – just 1% of patients who received Paxlovid were hospitalized through day 28 compared to 6.7% of placebo participants. The pill is similar to the drug molnupiravir, where patients can take the drug at home in the early stages of infection.

The US has approved the use of pill along with Israel, while the European Union has permitted member states to use it ahead of formal approval as an emergency measure against the Omicron variant. Moreover, the approval has become a boost to Pfizer which expects $22 billion in 2022 sales of the treatment further. According to preliminary studies, Paxlovid does not target the ever-evolving spike protein the coronavirus uses to invade cells, meaning it should theoretically be more variant-proof. However,  further research on the drug needed to be undertaken and submitted to the regulator said China’s National Medical Products Administration.