An at-home treatment for COVID-19 that can prevent serious illness was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, offering a note of optimism for the future of the pandemic as the world faces the omicron variant.
When taken early, Pfizer’s pill was 89% effective at reducing the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, according to the company, and was effective against omicron.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla estimated that 1,200 deaths and 6,000 hospitalizations would be prevented for every 100,000 COVID-19 patients who take the pills.
The FDA said the pill, Paxlovid, was authorized for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease in anyone 12 years and older who weighs at least about 88 pounds. Patients must test positive and be at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.