European Medicines Agency approves emergency use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 pill

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday allowed member states to use the pill against Pfizer Covid, before its formal approval, an emergency measure against the new wave of contagions.

The pharmaceutical giant indicated this week that the pill, which reduces hospitalizations and deaths of people at risk by 90%, should resist the new Covid variant, Omicron.

“The drug, which is not yet authorized in the European Union, can be used to treat adults with Covid-19 who do not require supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of developing a severe form of the disease, “the EMA said in a statement.

The agency explained that it issued this recommendation to support national authorities that may decide on an early use of the drug, for example, in the face of a rise in infections and deaths from Covid in the European Union.

This treatment, called Paxlovid, is a combination of a new molecule, the compound PF-07321332 and the antiretroviral ritonavir, which is used against the AIDS virus.

“Paxlovid should be administered as soon as possible after the diagnosis of covid-19 in the first five days from the onset of symptoms,” said the EMA, adding that the treatment should be extended for a further five days.

The most common side effects are taste disturbances, diarrhea, and vomiting. This compound should not be administered to pregnant women and lactation should be interrupted, if used.

The EMA launched an accelerated review of a marketing authorization on December 13.

The health agency has already issued a similar emergency approval for the rival pill, from the Merck laboratory.

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