Paxlovid is nearing full FDA approval for use against COVID-19 after the drug was endorsed by the agency's panel of advisers on Thursday. The drug has been employed under a Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization for patients over 50 whose COVID case is considered at high risk of progressing to a severe illness, the New York Times reports. The agency usually follows the recommendation of the panel, whose vote was 16-1, though it doesn't have to. The FDA released a new analysis of the past effectiveness of Paxlovid and projections for future COVID cases.
"I'd say, besides oxygen, Paxlovid has probably been the single most important treatment tool in this epidemic and continues to be," said one panel member, Dr. Richard Murphy of Vermont. The new analysis shows Paxlovid could help save 1,500 lives and prevent 13,000 hospitalizations per week. The panel members did express concern about potentially serious reactions between Paxlovid and other drugs, per CNBC, saying the issue merits attention. Conflicts most often occur with immunosuppressants, regularly used to treat HIV and organ transplant patients. The agency's analysis showed evidence of patients taking Paxlovid having rebound COVID cases, but it said patients who weren't given the treatment also sometimes rebounded. (Read more Paxlovid stories.)