White House expands availability of COVID antiviral treatment amid ample supply

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – President Joe Biden’s administration is taking steps to expand the availability of the life-saving COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, as it seeks to reassure doctors that for people at high risk of serious illness or death. There is sufficient supply. Virus.

Paxlovid, manufactured by Pfizer, was first approved in December. Food supplies were initially very limited, but as COVID-19 cases have fallen nationwide and manufacturing has increased, it is now more abundant. The White House is now taking steps to raise awareness of the pill and make it easier.

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The White House said on Tuesday it was expanding access to doctors, telling them not to think twice about giving the pill to eligible patients. It is also announcing that the drug will now be distributed directly to pharmacies, in addition to the existing distribution channels run by the states. This is expected to increase the number of sites from 20,000 to more than 30,000 and eventually to 40,000 locations over the next week.

The administration believes that the pharmacy channel, which it used to promote the availability of COVID-19 vaccines more than a year ago, will similarly provide antiviral pills to people.

“The bottom line is we want to make this therapeutic available to all Americans,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said on Nation World News on Tuesday.

Paxlovid, when administered within five days after symptoms appear, has been proven to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by approximately 90 percent in patients prone to severe illness. About 350 Americans are now dying from the coronavirus, compared to more than 2,600 during the height of the Omicron wave earlier this year.

The US has ordered a sufficient supply of pills for 20 million people, which is expected to last several more months. The administration has warned that further deliveries are up to Congress approving additional COVID-19 response funding.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s drug for adults and children 12 years of age and older with a positive COVID-19 test and early symptoms, who face the highest risk of serious consequences. This includes older people and people with conditions such as obesity and heart disease, although the drug is not recommended for patients with severe kidney or liver problems.

The administration is also working to expand the number of test-to-treatment sites, which provide a one-stop shop for people with COVID-19 to test for the virus, consult a medical professional if they test positive. And fill out a recipe for Paxlovid on the site. There are currently 2,200 locations nationwide, and the administration expects support from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and pharmacy companies to enable more sites to come online in the coming weeks.

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