It is now official: France will be able to add the Paxlovid treatment to its arsenal to fight against Covid-19. After the National Medicines Agency, the High Authority for Health gave the green light for the use of the pill developed by Pfizer, the first deliveries of which are expected in the coming days. Paxlovid thus becomes the first anti-Covid antiviral to obtain early access authorization. This is a treatment primarily intended for populations at risk (very elderly, immunocompromised, suffering from certain rare diseases, etc.).
The HAS “authorizes early access to the Paxlovid treatment (nirmatrelvir / ritonavir) from the Pfizer laboratory for adults with Covid-19 who do not require oxygen therapy and at high risk of progression to a severe form of the disease”, specifies she said in a press release. However, it notes that the antiviral is contraindicated in people with severe hepatic impairment or severe renal impairment. It also points to the significant risk of drug interactions when taking Paxlovid for patients taking another treatment.
500,000 doses reserved
Effective against Omicron, this treatment reduces the risk of being hospitalized or dying from Covid-19 by around 85%, according to clinical studies. This pill is taken orally as three tablets per day for five days. It is recommended to take it as soon as possible after the positive diagnosis for Covid-19 and at most within five days of the onset of symptoms.
“We have reserved 500,000 doses in 2022 and the first deliveries – a few thousand doses – are expected in a week,” said Thursday the entourage of Minister of Health Olivier Véran. Its deployment will be done in particular via a prescription by general practitioners, in all pharmacies. However, the HAS specifies that Paxlovid “is not intended to be used as a substitute for vaccination”.