THE Pfizer pill reduces the risk of death from COVID-19 by almost 90%.
The US-based company published their preliminary results of the experimental antiviral pill on Friday after the drug trial involving a total of 775 adults.
The research found that those taking the oral drug had an 89% reduction in their combined rate of hospitalisation or death after a month, compared with patients taking a placebo.
Fewer than 1% of patients taking the drug needed to be admitted to hospital and none died.
In the comparison group, 7% were admitted to hospital and there were seven deaths.
According to the company, the drug is designed to block a key enzyme that viruses need to multiply in the body.
The scientific director of Pfizer’s division of bacterial vaccines and hospital medicine, Annaliesa Anderson said: ”My general feeling was one of relief, it has been a long road.” Anderson, who has been working on the drug since January 2020 , explained that when they learned of the success achieved by the drug following the study, researchers’ hearts ‘accelerated’.
Pfizer has said that the company seeks ‘protection and treatment’ against coronavirus in ‘every way’.
Dr Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, said: “We were hoping that we had something extraordinary, but it’s rare that you see great drugs come through with almost 90% efficacy and 100% protection for death.”
Pfizer has already started manufacturing the drug and plans to produce more than 180,000 pill packs by the end of this year.
The company is working to rapidly produce at least 21 million packages of the drug in the first half of next year, with plans for a total of 50 million packages in 2022, according to The Washington Post.
Pfizer has not disclosed the price of its drug.