A new Cork-made Covid antiviral pill could be available early next year

The new Covid antiviral pill is currently being manufactured at the Pfizer plant in Ringaskiddy and could be available to the public early next year.

Earlier this week, Pfizer announced that it’s new Covid-19 antiviral pill, Paxlovid, offers high protection against severe disease from coronavirus and is effective against the Omicron variant.

Based on an analysis of the Phase II/III trial, Paxlovid reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death by 89% in high-risk adults with Covid-19, treated within three days of symptom onset.

Additionally, the Covid antiviral pill reduced the risk of hospitalisation and death by 88% in participants when treated within five days of symptoms.

Commenting on the new drug, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla mentions: “This news provides further corroboration that our oral antiviral candidate, if authorised or approved, could have a meaningful impact on the lives of many, as the data further support the efficacy of Paxlovid in reducing hospitalisation and death and show a substantial decrease in viral load.

“Emerging variants of concern, like Omicron, have exacerbated the need for accessible treatment options for those who contract the virus, and we are confident that, if authorised or approved, this potential treatment could be a critical tool to help quell the pandemic.”

Pfizer in Ringaskiddy has commenced manufacturing of the Paxlovid drug prior to authorisation at their own risk and expense in order to bring the potential new treatment to the market as soon as possible. According to a spokesperson for Pfizer, an expected 180,000 courses of treatment will be produced by the end of 2021, and up to 80 million by the end of 2022.

Subject to regulatory approval, the new antiviral drug could be supplied to Ireland early in the new year.

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