• Drug giant announced results on Friday
  • Study on 775 COVID patients found pill reduced hospitalization and death rates by 89 per cent compared to patients giving a dummy pill
  • Results of independent study were so impressive Pfizer halted it early to seek approval for its usage
  • It wants the Food and Drug Administration to authorize the treatment ASAP
  • Rival manufacturer Merck’s COVID pill is already under consideration by FDA

Pfizer Inc announced on Friday that its experimental pill to treat COVID-19 can cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90 percent.

The New York-based pharmaceutical company said it is no longer taking new patients in a clinical trial of the drug ‘due to the overwhelming efficacy’ and plans to submit data to U.S. regulators soon.

‘We were hoping that we had something extraordinary, but it’s rare that you see great drugs come through with almost 90 percent efficacy and 100 percent protection for death,’ Dr Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, said in an interview.

This is the second pill to prove effective at treating the disease after Merck & Co announced last month that its experimental antiviral could reduce the risk of serious illness and death by half.

Pfizer’s candidate, which is called PF-07321332, belongs to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors.

The pill would work by inhibiting an enzyme that the coronavirus uses to make copies of itself inside human cells.

Protease inhibitors have been effective at treating other viral pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C virus, both on their own and in combination with other antivirals, the company said.

Pfizer believes this class of molecules may provide well-tolerated treatments against COVID-19, as currently marketed therapeutics that work on the same lines have not reported safety concerns.

On Friday, the drugmaker released preliminary results of its study of 775 adults who contracted mild-to-moderate COVID-19.

All were unvaccinated and were considered high risk for hospitalization due to health problems such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease.

Treatment began within three to five days of initial symptoms, and lasted for five days….

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