• By DeeDee Stiepan

Do COVID-19 pills change the medical game plan?

December 14, 2021
a middle-aged Black woman pulling down her mask to be swabbed and tested for COVID-19 by a pharmacist wearing PPE

The latest potential COVID-19 treatment is on the horizon. Pfizer reports that Paxlovid, its COVID-19 antiviral pill, reduced hospitalizations and deaths by 89% among people at high risk. Pfizer has submitted its latest trial data to the Food and Drug Administration and has asked for emergency use authorization for the drug.

Mayo Clinic experts are weighing in on this new option to treat and manage COVID-19.

"It is, in my opinion, a very remarkable drug in that it took advantage of the past several decades of enhanced understanding in molecular simulation and crystallization, which allows us to understand protein structure," says Dr. Andrew Badley, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist. "And this drug has been developed based upon understanding that structure and learning ways to combat it with that." Dr. Badley chairs Mayo Clinic's SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 Research Task Force, which oversees Mayo Clinic's research activities related to COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

Over the past two months, data on two pills to treat COVID-19 became public, and scientists say there's reason to hope these treatments will reduce hospitalizations and death from COVID-19. Both work to stop SARS-CoV-2 from copying itself, but these pills focus on different mechanisms to achieve that goal.

Both have been called game-changers, but how do these investigational new drugs fit into the game? And what is the overall game plan anyway?

It involves three main tactics, says Dr. Badley. The way forward, he says, involves vaccines, testing and early treatment. And while these new pills may help when it comes to early treatment, a lot still needs to be learned.

Read the rest of this article on Discovery's Edge. Also, find more research news on Discovery's Edge.

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Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

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