Britain announces date for rollout of Pfizer's COVID-19 pill

Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill

Paxlovid, a Pfizer's COVID-19 pill.

Britain will start rolling out Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill to vulnerable people next month, the health ministry said on Friday.

This is targeted at the treatment of people with compromised immune systems for whom the vaccine can be less effective.

The health ministry said that Pfizer’s antiviral treatment Paxlovid, a combination of Pfizer’s pill with an older antiviral ritonavir, will be made available to thousands of people from Feb. 10.

“Trials have shown it can reduce hospitalisation and risk of death by 88%, meaning we’ll be in the best position to save thousands of lives,” National Health Service medical director Stephen Powis said.

Britain has ordered 2.75 million courses of Paxlovid.

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The government said that it would set out further details on access to the treatment soon.

It said people who are immunocompromised, cancer patients or those with Down’s Syndrome could be able to access it directly.

It is the second antiviral being rolled out in Britain after molnupiravir, a pill made by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

This is being deployed to patients through the Panoramic trial.

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