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The Paxlovid treatment was approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) yesterday. The Pfizer drug inhibits an enzyme required for viral replication in order to stop the virus multiplying, so the body can fight it off.
The Government has now secured 2.75 million treatment courses for 2022. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the UK was among the first countries in the world to give the drug the green light.
He added: “We are also leading the whole of Europe in the number of antivirals we’ve bought per person.”
Paxlovid comes as two tablets which are taken together, twice daily, for five days.
It is approved for over-18s with mild to moderate Covid and who have at least one risk factor increasing their chances of serious illness – these include obesity, being aged over 60, diabetes and heart disease.
In a trial, Paxlovid reduced risk of hospitalisation or death within 28 days by 89 percent when treatment was started within three days of symptoms beginning.
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