According to a study, the Pfizer COVID tablet had no benefit for people under 65.

According to a sizable research released on Wednesday, Pfizer’s COVID-19 tablet appears to have little to no impact for those under 65 while still lowering the risk of hospitalisation and mortality for seniors at high risk.

The outcomes from the 109,000 Israeli patients are likely to rekindle concerns about Paxlovid’s usage by the U.S. government. Because it can be administered at home, Paxlovid has become the standard therapy for COVID-19. Through its test-and-treat programme, the Biden administration has invested more than $10 billion in procuring the medication and making it accessible at thousands of pharmacies.

When administered soon after infection, Paxlovid reduced hospitalizations among persons 65 and older by almost 75%, according to the researchers. That is consistent with earlier findings that were used to support the drug’s approval in the US and other nations.

However, the review of medical records revealed that there was no discernible advantage for persons between the ages of 40 and 65.

The study was designed with limitations since it did not follow patients in a gold-standard randomised study with a control group—instead, it collected data from a sizable Israeli health system.

The results show how the pandemic is evolving and how the vast majority of people already have some immunity to the coronavirus as a result of vaccination or earlier infection. That significantly lowers the likelihood of serious COVID-19 problems, especially for younger persons. According to a recent estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 95% of Americans aged 16 and older have developed some degree of protection against the virus.

Dr. David Boulware, a physician and researcher at the University of Minnesota who was not involved in the study, stated that paxlovid “will remain critical for those at the highest risk of severe COVID-19, such as seniors and those with impaired immune systems.” “But this actually doesn’t have much of a benefit for the great majority of Americans who are now eligible,” said the speaker.

In response to the findings, which were reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, a Pfizer spokeswoman declined to comment.

Paxlovid was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last year for use in adults and children aged 12 and older who are at high risk due to diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. According to the CDC, 138 million Americans, or more than 42% of American adults, are obese.

There were no options for treating COVID-19 at home at the time the FDA made its decision, and Paxlovid was seen as essential to reducing hospital admissions and fatalities during the pandemic’s second winter surge. The medication outperformed a rival Merck medicine by a wide margin.

The FDA’s decision was based on a Pfizer study of high-risk patients who hadn’t received a COVID-19 vaccination or treatment in the past.

The majority of people today have either received a vaccination or have contracted an infection, so while those individuals do exist, they are extremely uncommon, according to Boulware.

An independent study of Paxlovid in healthy people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, failed to demonstrate a meaningful benefit, according to a Pfizer report from earlier this summer. A medical journal has not yet published those findings.

Since the drug’s approval, more than 3.9 million prescriptions for Paxlovid have been filled, according to federal records. A five-day treatment course consists of three tablets taken twice daily.

A White House spokesman on Wednesday cited numerous recent studies that claim Paxlovid helps persons 50 and older experience fewer hospitalizations. Peer-reviewed journals have not published the studies.

According to Kevin Munoz in an email statement, “Risk for catastrophic consequences from COVID is along a gradient, and the expanding body of evidence is suggesting that persons between the ages of 50 and 64 can also benefit from Paxlovid.”

Thousands of locations where patients who test positive can fill a prescription have been opened by administration officials as part of their months-long effort to boost the use of Paxlovid. Last month, American regulators increased access by allowing pharmacists to write the medication’s prescriptions.

Recently, the White House hinted that it would soon discontinue acquiring COVID-19 vaccines, medications, and diagnostics, transferring responsibility to the market for private insurance. In that case, insurers may establish new standards for when they would cover patients’ Paxlovid prescriptions.

This article first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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