A leading doctor has said Ireland could be above the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic if new antiviral drugs are approved for use here.
Professor Paul Moynagh was speaking following Pfizer’s announcement yesterday that its new drug PaxLovid reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in vulnerable adults.
The company should ask the United States Food and Drug Administration to clear the pill as soon as possible. A similar request is likely to be filed with the European Medicines Agency.
Professor Moynagh, director of human health research at NUI Maynooth, says drug cocktails, like those used to treat HIV, could be even more effective.
“It could also develop in which case we could see something like PaxLovid being given later in combination with other drugs.
“There is a drug from Merck, Molnupiravir, which was approved by the UK earlier this week. We could consider a cocktail of treatments.
“That doesn’t mean the vaccine isn’t needed. The two complement each other. If you put the two together, we start to have really powerful tools to be able to control the virus.”
Prof Moynagh explained that the vaccine is still incredibly effective even though it won’t work for everyone.
As we go through the initial stages of vaccine deployment, it is clear that there are breakthrough infections some of which will turn into hospitalizations and serious illnesses.
“Now, we potentially have this antiviral drug that can treat these people so suddenly that we ended up in a situation where we have very strong pharmaceutical interventions here that are very, very protective.”