Study by Chinese researchers confirms Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 drug Paxlovid effective
Published: Mar 30, 2022 06:55 PM Updated: Mar 30, 2022 06:51 PM
Paxlovid Photo: VCG
Paxlovid Photo: VCG

A primary study conducted by Chinese researchers confirmed that Pfizers oral COVID-19 drug Paxlovid is effective. But more studies will be required to determine to what degree it will benefit the countrys fight against the epidemic.

A small-scale clinical study on 24 COVID-19 patients showed that after receiving Paxlovid treatment for five days, they met the requirements to be discharged from hospitals, according to Lu Hongzhou from the National Clinical Research Center for Infectious Diseases, affiliated with the Third People‘s Hospital of Shenzhen.

After the five days, the patients average cycle threshold (Ct) values in nucleic acid testing increased to 35.92 from the previous 19.365, meaning they were qualified to be discharged from hospital. And their N gene climbed from the previous 18.46 to 34.22, also proving it was safe for them to go home, Lus study showed.

Since the drug was authorized for emergency use in China in February, it has been hailed by many as an additional option to help rein in the coronavirus, which has been flaring up lately in many parts of the country.

Lu told the Global Times on Wednesday that the drug is a priority option for patients who have a high risk of experiencing severe symptoms. It can also be administered to patients with mild symptoms who fear their conditions might get worse.

Lu’s team is studying more specific results of the drug. If COVID-19 patients are able to receive quarantine at home, such oral drugs can be distributed to them as a prevention method to reduce death and severe symptoms, Lu noted.

To rein in the Omicron variant and prevent more people from getting infected, Lu suggested widening the use of effective vaccines, such as nasally inhaled vaccines and mRNA vaccines. "Vaccines will definitely be used simultaneously with the COVID-19 drugs in order to eventually end the epidemic."

Other experts interviewed by the Global Times were also positive toward the drug, and called for the acceleration of the research and development of domestic drugs to treat COVID-19.

Shanghai on Tuesday in a notice encouraged the import of new COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutic drugs, but no more details were provided so far over what medications or vaccines it is referring to.