Vaccine watchdog has a positive opinion about the corona pill: are we going to use it now?


The corona pill has been approved by the so-called ‘vaccine watchdog’ of Europe, the EMA. Those pills are made by Pfizer, whose vaccine is also widely used. The EMA advises the European Commission to also approve the drug, Brussels often follows that kind of advice quickly. Are we going to use those pills in the Netherlands too?

The answer is short: probably yes. In fact, we could have already started using them. However, they had to wait for official approval. The drug, Paxlovid, is already approved for use in the United Kingdom and the United States.

RIVM boss Jaap van Dissel previously mentioned the corona pill as a means that would make measures superfluous.

Corona pill approved by EMA

The corona pill is intended for people who have just tested positive for the corona virus and who are at risk of becoming seriously ill. The remedy consists of two pills. One pill contains the substance PF-07321332, the other ritonavir. They should be taken together twice a day for five days.

If Brussels does approve the pills, Paxlovid will be the first drug of its kind in the European Union.

Just over 2000 subjects have tested the pill. Half of them were given the pills, the other half a saline solution that doesn’t work, as a placebo. Of the people who took Paxlovid, none died and eight had to be hospitalized for more than 24 hours. In the control group, there were 66 hospitalizations and nine deaths. Most had the delta variant, but the EMA expects the pills to also work well against the omikron variant, which is now the most common.

Low number of patients on IC

The number of corona patients in intensive care is still falling. Today is the lowest number reported since November 1. This is evident from figures from the National Coordination Center for Patients Spreading (LCPS). A total of 233 seriously ill patients with Covid-19 are now on the ICs of Dutch hospitals. That is 16 less than a day earlier.

Hospitals also noted a decrease in nursing wards, where there are fewer sick patients. There are 898 patients infected with the corona virus, 7 fewer than yesterday. This number has fluctuated considerably over the past week.

The LCPS reports 150 new admissions to nursing wards, slightly more than the 133 from a day earlier. 11 new recordings were reported on ICs.

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Vaccine watchdog has a positive opinion about the corona pill: are we going to use it now?