Germany buys 1 million doses of anti-COVID pill Paxlovid

The German government has placed an order for 1 million doses of Pfizer’s Paxlovid drug to treat severe cases of COVID-19, it announced on Tuesday.

The first deliveries are expected before the end of January, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told the dpa news agency in Berlin.

“The drug is extremely promising because it can significantly mitigate severe cases of COVID when administered early. I expect that we can use it to prevent numerous severe outcomes in intensive care units,” Lauterbach said.

In clinical trials the pill had shown nearly 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients.

The drug is administered in combination with an older antiviral drug called ritonavir every 12 hours for five days, beginning shortly after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

Lauterbach said the drug gives doctors a new method to fight the virus.

“Slowly, through a combination of increasingly effective vaccines and treatment options, COVID is becoming a disease that will lose its terror,” he said.

He said the government is working with all the drug manufacturers that are developing appropriate medicines.

“I’d rather have us fight this battle with rapid vaccination and effective drugs, than having to close schools,” he told dpa.

Lauterbach announced that the Health Ministry is working towards an emergency approval for the drug:

“To ensure that Paxlovid can be used immediately upon delivery, I have initiated the procedure for emergency approval in Germany together with the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices,” he said.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency approval for the drug just before Christmas, making it the first COVID drug available in tablet form in the US.


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