Photo Credit: NIAID / NIH
SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus, COVID-19

Tens of thousands of doses of the new Pfizer home treatment for COVID-19, Paxlovid, are being shipped to Israel as early as next week, according to Israel’s Channel N12 News.

Israel Asked Pfizer for Information on Anti-Covid Pill Paxlovid, Weighs Purchase

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At least 90 countries around the world are waiting to purchase the drug — but Israel was already in touch with Pfizer at the start of last month to discuss a deal.

Israeli Health Ministry officials told KAN 11 News in November that Paxlovid would prove to be a “game changer,” even though it won’t eliminate the need for vaccinations and boosters.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization on Wednesday to Pfizer for the use of the new pill, reported to be 90 percent effective in preventing serious illness and death when taken shortly after onset of the virus.

“Today’s authorization of PAXLOVID represents another tremendous example of how science will help us ultimately defeat this pandemic, which, even two years in, continues to disrupt and devastate lives across the world. This breakthrough therapy, which has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths and can be taken at home, will change the way we treat COVID-19, and hopefully help reduce some of the significant pressures facing our healthcare and hospital systems,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “Pfizer stands ready to begin delivery in the US immediately to help get PAXLOVID into the hands of appropriate patients as quickly as possible.”

FDA Set to Grant Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer, Merck COVID-19 Pills

The FDA approval includes authorization for the medication to be used by high-risk adults and teens ages 12 and up confirmed as having the virus.

The United States government also has ordered 10 million courses of the treatment, priced at $530 per treatment.

The Pfizer pill is a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, an antiviral already in use, and is intended to be taken every 12 hours for a five-day period starting shortly after onset of symptoms of COVID-19.

The FDA is also reportedly set to approve Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 pill produced by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, called Molnupiravir, which was found to be about 50 percent effective in clinical trials of high-risk patients who took the pill early in the course of the illness.

Risk factors in the Merck trial included age over 60 years, active cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, obesity, diabetes or serious heart conditions such as heart failure and coronary artery disease.

The US government has purchased five million courses of Molnupiravir as well.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.