"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Paxlovid weaker against current COVID-19 variants

September 22, 2023 – An actual-world study published in JAMA Open Network found that Pfizer's COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid is now less effective at stopping hospitalization or death in high-risk patients in comparison with previous studies. However, when looking only at deaths, the antiviral was still highly effective.

Paxlovid was about 37% effective at stopping deaths or hospitalizations in high-risk patients compared with no treatment. The study also checked out Merck's antiviral Lagevrio and located it was about 41% effective. At stopping deaths alone, Paxlovid was about 84% effective and Lagevrio about 77% effective compared with no treatment, the study found.

The University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Cleveland Clinic examined the electronic health records of 68,867 patients in Cleveland and Florida hospitals who were diagnosed with COVID between April 1, 2022, and February 20, 2023.

For paxlovid, the efficacy against death and hospitalization was lower than the efficacy rate of about 86% for clinical trials in 2021, in keeping with Bloomberg.

The difference in effectiveness within the real-world and clinical trials could also be as a result of the undeniable fact that the initial trials were conducted on unvaccinated people. Additionally, the virus has evolved since those initial trials, Bloomberg reported.

According to the researchers, the drugs Paxlovid and Lagevrio are really helpful to be used because they reduce the variety of hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients who turn out to be infected with COVID, even considering the newest omicron subvariants.

“These results suggest that the use of either nirmatrelvir (Paxlovid) or molnupiravir (Lagevrio) is associated with a reduction in mortality and hospitalizations in patients infected with Omicron, regardless of age, race and ethnicity, viral strain, vaccination status, prior infection status, or comorbidities,” the study said. “Both drugs can therefore be used to treat non-hospitalized patients who are at high risk of developing severe COVID-19.”

Both medications must be taken inside 5 days of the onset of COVID symptoms.