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UVA doctors discuss Paxlovid, designed to stop future variations of COVID-19

There’s now another weapon in the fight against COVID-19.
The FDA has granted Emergency Use...
There’s now another weapon in the fight against COVID-19. The FDA has granted Emergency Use Authorization to Pfizer for its oral antiviral drug. It’s called Paxlovid and studies show it reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by 88% if taken within the first five days of symptoms.(WBRC)
Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 9:00 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With Omicron cases on the rise, Delta still in the mix, and a new year ahead, two UVA Health doctors say: there may be a silver lining. It comes in the form of a recently FDA-approved pill from Pfizer, Paxlovid.

“This Pfizer pill is what’s called a protease inhibitor and it inhibits an activity in the virus that’s required to make a new virus to package the virus properly,” Dr. Bill Petri with UVA Health said.

Protease inhibitors can keep a virus from making new versions of itself.

Petri said these inhibitors have a successful track record of treating virus infections, for example with Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

“HIV became a controllable infection on protease inhibitors for developed hepatitis c virus, we’re able to cure the virus because of the availability of protease inhibitors,” Petri said.

Dr. Patrick Jackson from UVA Health warns there are some things to be aware of with the new medication.

“It has to be given within five days of the onset of symptoms,” Jackson said. “So it’s really important to make that diagnosis of COVID-19 early on, so this drug can be effective. One major downfall of this drug is that it has a huge number of drug interactions.”

He says your physician can help avoid reactions by looking at what other medications you’re on and determine eligibility.

The pill is not only designed to stop COVID-19 from making new strains, but also to lessen symptoms so people can recover from home.

“It’s very, very good at preventing people from going into the hospital,” Petri said.

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