New Antiviral COVID-19 Pills are Hitting the Market


Erika Hartman, In-Depth Writer

Since the early months of 2020, the world has been plagued with the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions have died, and hundreds of millions more have struggled to fight the disease. At the start of 2021, several vaccines were released to people all over the world, yet today, many still face struggles due to COVID-19. However, recently multiple antiviral COVID-19 pills have hit the market, which helps treat people who are already sick with the virus. The real question is: Could these pills really be the end to COVID-19 related deaths?


One of the new pills out, Paxlovid, was manufactured by the well-known medical company, Pfizer.  The Pfizer drug which is a protease inhibitor is designed to block an enzyme the virus needs in order to multiply. When taken alongside a low dose of another antiviral pill, Paxlovid stays in the body for longer, allowing for the virus to be warded off. According to recent research at Pfizer’s labs, the drug is extremely effective, cutting the risk of death or hospitalization by 89% in vulnerable adults when given within three days of the onset of symptoms. Annaliesa Anderson, a Pfizer executive who led the drug’s development, said “The results are really beyond our wildest dreams,” and she expressed hope that Paxlovid “can have a big impact on helping all our lives go back to normal again and seeing the end of the pandemic”.


The Pfizer pills will mainly be distributed to high-risk patients, such as people above 60 years of age or others who have medical conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19’s devastating consequences. The treatment, which will be dispensed at pharmacies and taken home, consists of 30 pills given over five days. That includes 10 pills of ritonavir, an old H.I.V. drug, which helps Pfizer’s drug remain active in the body longer.  While many wealthy countries, such as the United States and U.K, have rushed in to buy up the pills, Pfizer has stated that they plan to offer the pills to low-income countries at a discounted price. 


Although some are skeptical about how well the pills will work, it is evident that they will make a big difference for many. That being said, governments all over the world still encourage the public to get vaccinated so they do not have to rely on the treatment to save them while already sick. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and get vaccinated!