Local doctors say COVID pill will be a ‘game-changer’

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 11:21 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Local doctors calling Pfizer’s new COVID pill a game-changer in the pandemic. Early trial results show the Pfizer pill could lower your risk of hospitalization and death by 90 percent.

Doctors from Augusta University Health say the Pfizer COVID-19 pill is in the works for a take-at-home drug, but not as a substitute for the vaccine.

“Something that can be a game-changer both here locally, across the United States but also across the world,” said Dr. Joshua Wyche Assistant vice president for strategic planning and pharmacy services at AU Health.

Doctors at AU say prevention is always better than a cure – so vaccination is still the best tool to fight COVID. But this pill could be the difference in life and death for a lot of people who are not vaccinated.

“This medication the way it’s being studied today is only after we get sick, after we are symptomatic,” he said.

For the Pfizer pill – patients in the study were unvaccinated, suffered mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms and were considered high risk for hospitalization because of health problems.

A Merck pill lowered the risk of hospitalization or death by about 50 percent, but the Pfizer pill reduced those odds by 89 percent.

Pfizer has already started manufacturing the pill and expects the Food and Drug Administration to approve it in December. The FDA is meeting Nov. 30 to review Merck’s pill.

“So I think that a reasonable timeframe for this is just around the first of the year,” Wyche said.

Wyche says the best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get vaccinated, and the pill is designed for those who can’t or haven’t yet.

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