Russia to start trials of American Covid-19 drug

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By Jonny Tickle

Russia has granted permission to US pharmaceutical company Pfizer to conduct clinical trials of Paxlovid, an experimental drug that is thought to significantly lower the risk of hospitalization or death after contracting Covid-19.

That’s according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti, which revealed that the study would be conducted among adults who have come into contact with symptomatic coronavirus patients in their home. Ninety people will participate in the trial as part of wider third-phase testing, including 7,000 people from around the world.

Earlier this month, Pfizer reported positive results from a phase 2/3 trial, which found that the drug reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% compared to  placebo in non-hospitalized high-risk adults with Covid-19.

READ MORE: Pfizer stays mum about price of its new ‘game-changer’ anti-Covid-19 pill set to compete with Merck’s drug

Despite Paxlovid not yet being approved, it has already sparked interest among world governments. The UK has already ordered 250,000 courses and is beginning to stockpile, and it could be in use in 2022. Australia has also bought a large batch of the drug.

Paxlovid is the first orally administered experimental drug to be tested for treating Covid-19. It works by blocking the activity of an enzyme, making replication of the virus impossible. It is planned to be used on people who have been exposed to Covid-19, allowing them to beat it before the onset of severe symptoms.

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