Could Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral pill put an end to the pandemic?

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New data shows Pfizer’s experimental antiviral pill cuts hospitalization and death rates for COVID-19 by nearly 90%. Now, the company wants quick action from the FDA to authorize the treatment.

Based on newly released data, the pill — used in combination with an HIV drug — cut the risk of hospitalizations or deaths in high-risk adults by 89%. 

News 8 turned to Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, to explain how the treatment works.

“The effect of these particular drugs… both the Pfizer and the Merck is to try and limit the replication of the virus,” said Doehring. “And so they are sort of interfering with that aspect of how contagious and how severe the coronavirus can be.”

In a statement, Pfizer Chief Executive, Albert Bourla said:

“These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections and eliminate up to nine out of 10 hospitalizations.”

Bourla also says Pfizer plans on submitting their data to the FDA as soon as possible and the drug treatment could be made available to Americans by the end of this year.