As FDA approves 2 COVID-19 pills, some experts voice concern

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, more treatment options are on the way.

Pills meant to help prevent severe illness and death after infection from Pfizer and Merck are about to be available, although some experts are voicing concerns over what the treatments may mean for the future of the pandemic.

Dr. Nathan Bahr of the University of Kansas health system has displayed mixed feelings over Merck’s pill Malnupiravir due its potential to induce mutations as it’s trying to kill the virus.

Despite the concerns, clinical trials showed a decrease in risk of hospitalization and death by 30 percent in high-risk patients.

For at-home treatment options, Pfizer’s pill Paxlovid is likely to be the first option, proven to be 90 percent effective in reducing hospitalization and death in high-risk patients.

“This pill will prevent certain people from developing severe disease and needing hospitalization,” Dr. Anthony J. Santella of the University of New Haven said.

Pfizer’s drug may be dangerous to mix with other medications, making it imperative for patients to make pharmacists and doctors of all medications currently prescribed, as some interactions are manageable.

The Biden administration has ordered 10 million doses of the Pfizer medication, though the order is not expected to be complete until this upcoming summer.

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