According to an Israeli-American study, the drug Paxlovid, which was developed against the corona virus, is particularly effective in older people. Accordingly, the preparation developed by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer significantly minimized the deaths and hospitalizations found among over 65-year-olds.
The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine last Wednesday and is based on data from Israel. Between January and March, more than 100,000 patients who tested positive for the corona virus were monitored, as reported by the New York Times.
All patients in the test group were older than 40 years and were considered risk patients. 4000 study participants were treated with the preparation Paxlovid.
The researchers rated the falling mortality rate when taking Paxlovid as particularly positive. The risk of dying from the corona virus was reduced by around 79 percent compared to the test group without medication.
However, the study found hardly any changes in patients between the ages of 40 and 65 as a result of taking the drug.
However, White House health official Ashish Jha stressed on Friday that the drug should continue to be prescribed to anyone over the age of 50 who develops symptoms of the coronavirus.
On Twitter, he added that there was no reason to believe that Paxlovid only has benefits for the elderly. “Clearly, a drug that stops viral replication in a 70-year-old will do the same thing in a 60-year-old,” he explained.
The effectiveness of Paxlovid is controversial. Before it was approved, the preparation was only tested on unvaccinated people, and the delta variant of the coronavirus was still dominant at the time.
The research team of the study that has now been published describes the prescription of the drug for patients under the age of 65 as helpful in individual cases. “Administering the drug can make sense for a 62-year-old unvaccinated person with previous illnesses,” explains Ronen Arbel, lead author of the study.
In pilot studies, Pfizer stated that the probability of hospitalization and the mortality rate could be reduced in 88 percent of the study participants. However, the prerequisite is that it should be taken within the first five days after the onset of symptoms.
Cases in which a second infection was found within a very short time after treatment with Paxlovid, such as in the case of US President Joe Biden, also caused discussions. The study was unable to collect any relevant data on these so-called “rebound” cases.
The side effects of the preparation are considered minor. Patients most often complain of a metallic taste after ingestion. Paxlovid has also been approved in the EU since January.