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New easy-to-use Covid-19 pills come with catch

 | Business News Today

New easy-to-use Covid-19 pills come with catch

| Breaking News Updates | News Today


Newly infected COVID-19 patients have two new treatment options that can be taken at home.

But that convenience comes with a catch: the pills should be taken as soon as possible once symptoms appear.

The challenge is to get tested, get a prescription, and start the pills within a short period of time.

US regulators cleared the pill from Pfizer, Paxlovid and Mercks molnupiravir last week. In high-risk patients, both have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19, although Pfizer’s was much more effective.

To look closer:

WHO SHOULD TAKE THESE PILLS?

Antiviral pills are not for everyone who tests positive. The pills are for people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are more likely to become seriously ill. This includes the elderly and those with other health conditions like heart disease, cancer or diabetes that make them more vulnerable. Both pills were acceptable for adults while Paxlovid is approved for children 12 years of age and older.

WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE THESE PILLS?

Mercks’ molnupiravir is not allowed in children because it may interfere with bone growth. It is also not recommended for pregnant women due to the risk of birth defects. The Pfizer pill is not recommended for patients with severe kidney or liver problems. It may not be the best option for some either, as it can interact with other prescriptions that a patient is taking. Antiviral pills are not allowed for people hospitalized with COVID-19.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT WINDOW?

The pills should be started as soon as possible, within five days of the onset of symptoms. Cough, headache, fever, loss of taste or smell, and muscle and body aches are some of the most common signs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website to check your symptoms.

Dr Cameron Wolfe, an infectious disease specialist at Duke University Hospital, advises getting tested as soon as you show symptoms of COVID-19.

If you wait until you start to get short of breath, you’ve already largely missed the window where these drugs will come in handy, Wolfe said.

WHERE CAN I GET THE PILLS?

First you will need a prescription from a doctor or other authorized health care worker. The US government buys the pills from Merck and Pfizer and provides them free of charge, but supplies will initially be limited. They will be shipped to states where they will be available at pharmacies, community health centers and other locations. The treatment lasts five days.

Some pharmacists may be able to administer a quick COVID-19 test and prescribe the pills in one visit. They already do this in many states for the flu or strep throat.

DO THE PILLS WORK FOR THE OMICRON VARIANT?

The pills are expected to be effective against omicron because they do not target the spike protein where most of the worrisome mutation variants reside. The two pills work in different ways to prevent the virus from reproducing.

ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS FOR NEW COVID-19 PATIENTS?

Yes, but they are not as easy to use as a pill: they are given intravenously or by injection, usually in a hospital or clinic. Three drugs provide anti-virus antibodies, although lab tests suggest both are not effective against omicron. The antibody drug from British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline appears to be working, and officials say they are working to increase US supply. The only antiviral drug approved in the United States, remdesivir, is for people hospitalized with COVID-19.

New easy-to-use Covid-19 pills come with catch

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