European Medicines Agency Officially Approves First Oral COVID-19 Treatment Pill

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has officially approved Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 treatment drug called Paxlovid, making it the first oral antiviral Coronavirus pill to receive regulatory approval in Europe.

The development comes as most of the European countries struggle to contain the resurgence of the Coronavirus driven by the Omicron variant. The region has regularly reported over 1 million new COVID-19 infections daily since the turn of the year.

In an official statement, the EMA said Paxlovid has been recommended for use for the treatment of COVID-19 patients who do not need supplemental oxygen but are at the risk of developing a severe infection.

Paxlovid should be administered at the onset of the symptoms of COVID-19 because it is most effective in the first five days of a positive diagnosis, the EMA statement added.

Pfizer had published preliminary results of the highly anticipated clinical trials of Paxlovid in November last year, revealing that the drug reduces the rate of hospitalization and death by 89 percent in high-risk adults.

Earlier this month, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had also approved Paxlovid. Pfizer’s pill wasn’t the first to be approved in the UK. MHRA had approved Merck’s oral antiviral Coronavirus pill called Molnupiravir in November last year, making it the world’s first oral COVID-19 treatment drug to receive regulatory approval.

Public health officials around the world believe that easy-to-administer antiviral Coronavirus pills can play an important role in ending the pandemic as they will prevent patients with mild and moderate symptoms from developing severe infections.