Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid antiviral that lowers rates of illness and death in people infected with COVID-19 also reduces the risk of some symptoms of long-COVID, a study found. According to the study, taking Paxlovid within five days of testing positive for COVID-19 infection was linked to a 26 percent lower risk of post-viral complications.
This equates to 2.3 percent fewer cases of long-term COVID within three months of COVID-19 infection for every 100 patients treated. It also suggests that wider use of the treatment will not just decrease the risk of COVID-19 during the acute phase of infection, but Paxlovid will limit patient’s likelihood of long-term problems. This is the first study to look at the long-term effects of Paxlovid.
Eric Topol, founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California, said that the only way they have known to decrease long-COVID was to avoid a COVID-19 infection, with some decrease afforded by prior vaccination and boosters, and the level of protection is mostly in the range of 30% to 50%.
Long-term COVID is estimated to affect around 150 million people worldwide and has been predicted to cost 3.7 trillion dollars in the United States alone. The study has analysed electronic health records of users of the VA network, the biggest integrated health-care system in the United States.