Pfizer says its antiviral pill can cut 89% of COVID hospitalizations and deaths

Enlarge / Pfizer headquarters in Manhattan on November 19, 2020. (credit: Getty | Anadolu Agency)

An antiviral pill developed by Pfizer reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths by about 89 percent in a trial involving 774 newly infected people at risk of developing severe disease. That’s according to a press release posted Friday by the company; the full data has not yet been released, published, or peer-reviewed.

Still, Pfizer said the results looked promising enough that an independent data-monitoring committee recommended the trial end early. Pfizer said it now plans to submit its data as soon as possible to the Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Pfizer’s oral antiviral—PF-07321332—is the second drug candidate to generate buzz as an easy-to-use and highly effective COVID-19 treatment. Last month, Merck announced that its oral antiviral treatment, molnupiravir, cut the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by roughly 50 percent in newly infected, at-risk people. Merck has applied for an EUA, and FDA advisers will review the application on November 30.

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