BANGOR, Maine (WABI) – Earlier Wednesday, U.S. health officials authorized the first pill to be used against COVID-19.
The Pfizer drug will allow people with mild symptoms to be treated at home.
The drug, Paxlovid, is a faster, cheaper way to treat early COVID-19 infections.
Previously authorized drugs against the virus require an IV or an injection.
The head of the Maine CDC, Dr. Nirav Shah, calls the news encouraging but says initially, supplies will be limited.
“Nationwide for the month of December and into early January, there will only be 65,000 patient courses nationwide. And then in January at some point, the federal government is expecting another 200,000 patient courses nationwide. So between now and say February, we’re looking at 265,000 or so, patients who may benefit from this,” said Shah.
Shah says they expect to learn in the coming days what Maine’s allotment will be.
An antiviral pill from Merck also is expected to soon win authorization, but officials think Pfizer’s will be the preferred option because of its mild side effects and superior effectiveness, including a nearly 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths among patients most likely to get severe disease.
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