U.S. health officials are expected to approve two antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19 this week.
The treatments that the US Food and Drug Administration and FDA are reviewing approval for are ‘Paxrovid’ and ‘Molnupiravir’, respectively, developed in pill form by US pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Merck & Company.
Bloomberg reports that the FDA is considering announcing an emergency use authorization for these drugs today.
Antiviral drugs prevent an infected person from becoming seriously ill by preventing the virus from replicating in the body.
In particular, the two treatments are expected to reduce the burden on medical facilities, such as intensive care beds, because infected people who are classified as at-risk take them at home for several days.
The FDA is expected to authorize conditional emergency use in the form of limiting antiviral drug users.
Paxrovid, developed by Pfizer, was shown to reduce the risk of severe hospitalization by 89% in clinical trials in patients within three days of onset of symptoms.
However, the results of Pfizer’s clinical trials have not yet been reviewed by the FDA advisory body, ADAC.
Merck’s molnupiravir has been shown to be less effective in clinical trials, and its potential for adverse effects on the fetus or infant has raised safety concerns about its use in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
(Photo = VN Express site capture, Yonhap News)