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Pfizer says new anti-COVID pill is ‘a game-changer’

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Friday the results from a clinical trial of a new coronavirus drug, aimed at preventing serious cases of the virus among high-risk groups – particularly those unable to receive the COVID vaccine.

According to a press release by Pfizer Friday afternoon, the experimental pill demonstrated up to 89% effectiveness in curbing hospitalizations or death among high-risk patients.

The new antiviral pill was combined with low doses of an HIV drug called Ritonavir [Lopinavir/Norvir], producing an effect that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called a “game-changer”.

“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 ten hospitalizations.”

The pill, a protease inhibitor, prevents the COVID virus from multiplying in the human body by blocking an enzyme used by COVID to multiply.

During the experimental trials, subjects took three pills twice a day for five days, with Ritonavir [Lopinavir/Norvir] taken in addition to prolong the pill’s effects.

Pfizer did not release the full results of the trial Friday.

The interim data comes from trials on 1,219 high-risk patients who were infected with COVID, comparing rates of hospitalization between those given a placebo versus the protease inhibitor.

Seven percent of those in the placebo group were hospitalized during the trials, compared to 0.8% of those given the protease inhibitor.

Seven patients in the placebo group died during the trials, while none died in the group which received the new pill.

Source: Arutz Sheva


Ritonavir was patented in 1989 and came into medical use in 1996.

It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.

Ritonavir capsules were approved as a generic medication in the United States in 2020.