COVID-19

United States: approval of an anti-Covid pill and rush in the tests

Published on: 12/23/2021 – 02:18 AM

A Covid-19 treatment from Pfizer’s laboratory, called Paxlovid, was urgently authorized on Wednesday in the United States, where the population is flocking to testing centers ahead of the year-end holidays threatened by the Omicron variant.

The United States Medicines Agency (FDA) on Wednesday, December 22, emergency authorized the pill against Covid-19 from the Pfizer laboratory. “This authorization provides a new tool to combat Covid-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, an FDA official, quoted in a statement.

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, hastened to greet in a statement this “good news” that allows to adorn “the country’s medicine cabinet.” The White House intends to purchase 250,000 treatments starting in January, and 10 million in total.

This antiviral drug can be administered to high-risk patients 12 years of age and older, specifies the FDA, which nonetheless emphasizes that vaccines remain the first line of defense against the pandemic.

Pfizer’s treatment, marketed as Paxlovid, consists of a combination of two pills taken twice a day for five days, at the time of diagnosis and within five days of the onset of symptoms. It can reduce hospitalizations and deaths in people at risk by 88% when taken within the first five days after symptoms appear, according to clinical trials.

Pfizer also announced that its antiviral treatment should continue to be effective against Omicron, a new highly transmissible variant.

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Rush test

The priority for Americans, however, remained Wednesday to find evidence, particularly for those who are preparing to reunite with their families for the end-of-the-year celebrations. Lines stretch in front of testing centers in the United States, and some drug store chains or even e-commerce giant Amazon have decided to ration purchases due to insufficient stock.

The Biden administration, which promises to distribute 500 million free tests but only starting in January, nevertheless denies having anticipated the situation badly. “No, I don’t think it’s a failure,” Joe Biden said in an interview that aired Wednesday night on ABC.

However, health authorities have recommended avoiding too many gatherings, and favoring festivities in small groups, among vaccinated people. “If you get tested and you know where you are with the shots,” there is “no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get together with family and friends,” Joe Biden told ABC.

Some localities have decided to temporarily close schools or install a vaccination pass – in Washington, the federal capital, where it will be mandatory from January to be vaccinated to go to a cafe, a restaurant or a gym.

The great mass of electronic products and technologies in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), sees its big face-to-face comeback, scheduled for early January, in jeopardy. Many large companies have decided to imitate or cancel their presence.

With AFP

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