Israeli study shows Pfizer COVID pill of no benefit in younger adults


WASHINGTON (AP) — Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill appears to provide little or no benefit for younger adults, while still reducing the risk of hospitalization and death for high-risk seniors, according to a large study published Wednesday .

The results of an Israeli study of 109,000 patients are likely to raise new questions about the US government’s use of Paxlovid, which has become the best treatment for COVID-19 due to its convenience at home. The Biden administration has spent more than $10 billion to purchase the drug and make it available at thousands of pharmacies through its test-and-treatment initiative.

The researchers found that Paxlovid reduced the number of hospitalizations in people over 65 by about 75% when given shortly after infection. That’s consistent with previous results used to authorize the drug in the US and other countries.

But people between the ages of 40 and 65 saw no measurable benefit, the analysis of medical records shows.

The study has limitations because of its design, which collected data from a major Israeli health system rather than including patients in a randomized controlled trial — the gold standard for medical research.

The findings reflect the changing nature of the pandemic, with the vast majority of people already having some protection against the virus as a result of vaccination or previous infection. Especially for younger adults, that significantly reduces their risk of serious COVID-19 complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated that 95% of Americans aged 16 and older have acquired some degree of immunity to the virus.

Image provided by Pfizer in October 2021 shows the company’s COVID-19 Paxlovid pills. (Pfizer via AP)

“Paxlovid will continue to be important for people at highest risk for severe COVID-19, such as seniors and those with compromised immune systems,” said Dr. David Boulware, a University of Minnesota researcher and physician who was not involved in the study. . “But for the vast majority of Americans who qualify now, this really doesn’t benefit much.”

A Pfizer spokesperson declined to comment on the results, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Paxlovid late last year for adults and children ages 12 and older who are considered high-risk due to conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. According to the CDC, more than 42% of American adults are considered obese, representing 138 million Americans.

At the time of the FDA decision, there were no options to treat COVID-19 at home, and Paxlovid was considered critical in reducing hospitalizations and deaths during the second winter wave of the pandemic. The drug’s results were also much stronger than a competing pill from Merck.

The FDA made its decision based on a Pfizer study in high-risk patients who had not been vaccinated or treated for a previous COVID-19 infection.

“Those people do exist, but they’re relatively rare because most people have now been vaccinated or become infected,” Boulware said.

Pfizer reported earlier this summer that a separate study of Paxlovid in healthy adults — vaccinated and unvaccinated — showed no significant benefit. Those results have not yet been published in a medical journal.

According to federal data, more than 3.9 million prescriptions for Paxlovid have been filled since the drug was approved. A course of treatment is three pills twice a day for five days.

A White House spokesperson pointed out several recent papers on Wednesday that suggest Paxlovid is helping to reduce hospitalizations in people 50 and older. The studies have not been published in peer-reviewed journals.

“The risk of serious consequences from COVID is along a gradient, and the growing body of evidence shows that individuals between the ages of 50 and 64 can also benefit from Paxlovid,” Kevin Munoz said in an emailed statement.

Administration officials have been working for months to increase the use of Paxlovid, opening thousands of sites for patients who test positive to fill out a prescription. Last month, US officials further expanded access by allowing pharmacists to prescribe the drug.

The White House recently signaled that it may soon stop buying COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests, shifting responsibility to the private insurance market. In that scenario, insurers could establish new criteria for when they would pay for patients to receive Paxlovid.

It’s not (just) about you.

Supporting The Times of Israel is not a transaction for an online service, such as a subscription to Netflix. The ToI community is for people like you who care a common good: To ensure that balanced, responsible reporting about Israel remains available for free to millions of people around the world.

Of course, we’ll remove all ads from your Page and unlock access to great community-only content. But your support gives you something deeper than that: the pride to participate something that really matters.

Join the Times of Israel Community Join our community Already a member? Log in to stop seeing this

You are a devoted reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide critical readers like you with essential coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we have not put up a paywall. But since the journalism we do is precious, we invite readers to whom The Times of Israel has become important to support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For just $6 a month you can support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel ADVERTISING FREEas well as access to exclusive content only available to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founder and Editor of The Times of Israel

Join our community Join our community Already a member? Log in to stop seeing this

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:


More like this

Russia prepares to annex occupied Ukraine despite outcry

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) - Russia stood ready to formally...

Storm Ian strengthens to Category 4 hurricane as millions urged to evacuate Florida Gulf Coast

SARASOTA, Florida, Sept. 28 (Reuters) - Hurricane Ian intensified...

Solomon Islands rejects Biden’s Pacific outreach amid China challenge

SYDNEY — US efforts to rally leaders of the...

An economy that’s strong – Atmore News

Americans can no longer afford a one-party Democrat system....