WHO recommends the use of Paxlovid for the treatment of mild and moderate Covid-19 patients

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of an oral antiviral drug Pfizer for the treatment of mild and moderate Covid-19 patients who are most at risk of developing serious illness or being hospitalized.

According to the international health body, the use of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, which are sold as Paxlovid, has so far been the best treatment choice for high-risk patients.

This recommendation follows randomized controlled trials with some 3,078 Covid-19 patients.

After treating patients with the drug, the risk of hospitalization was reduced by 85%. This means that in a high-risk group with more than 10% risk of hospitalization, there were 84 fewer hospitalizations per 1,000 patients.

A press release issued by the WHO on April 22 explained that non-severe Covid-19 patients such as those who are unvaccinated, older or immunocompromised can be treated with the drug.

“A barrier for low- and middle-income countries is that the drug can only be given when the disease is in its early stages; rapid and accurate tests are therefore essential for a positive result with this therapy.

“Data collected by FIND shows that the average daily testing rate in low-income countries is as low as one-eightieth the rate in high-income countries. Improving access to early screening and diagnosis in primary health care settings will be essential for the global rollout of this treatment,” the statement said.

The WHO, however, called for wide dissemination and transparency from the initiator.

He expressed concern that the lack of price transparency in bilateral agreements made by the producer and the need for rapid and accurate testing before administering the drug could turn “this life-saving medicine into a major challenge for low- and middle-income countries”.

“WHO is extremely concerned that – as has happened with COVID-19 vaccines – low- and middle-income countries will again be pushed to the end of the queue when it comes to to access this treatment.

“WHO therefore strongly recommends that Pfizer make its pricing and agreements more transparent and expand the geographic scope of its license with the Medicines Patent Pool so that more generic manufacturers can start producing the medicine and make it available. faster at affordable prices,” the statement insisted.

WHO updates recommendations on remdesivir

Along with the strong recommendation for the use of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, the WHO also updated its recommendation on remdesivir, another antiviral drug.

Previously, the WHO had suggested against using it in all patients with Covid-19, regardless of disease severity, due to the totality of evidence at the time showing little or no effect. on mortality.

But “following the publication of new data from a clinical trial on the outcome of hospital admission, WHO has updated its recommendation.

“WHO now suggests the use of remdesivir in mild or moderate COVID-19 patients who are at high risk of hospitalization.”

“The recommendation for the use of remdesivir in patients with severe or critical Covid-19 is currently under review,” he said.

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