Anti-Covid pills will be a boon
The notion that a fearsome infection could soon be treatable with a handful of pills is an exhilarating idea nearly two years into a pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people, at least 770,000 in the United States. But experts — who are thrilled about the prospect of two powerful new medicines — worry that enthusiasm for the idea of treatments may distract from their limitations and the necessity of preventing illness in the first place.
If regulators deem the five-day treatment courses from Pfizer and Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics safe and effective in coming weeks,as most people expect, the drugs could make getting sick far less scary. The United States has already pre purchased millions of treatments. The good news arrives like an echo of last year, when two remarkably effective vaccines were authorized in the middle of the holiday season as a winter surge in new cases loomed.
But these treatments alone aren’t likely to close the book on the coronavirus. Instead, they will be a valuable addition to an armamentarium that the world is going to have to keep building and maintaining in the long run: vaccines, booster shots, more antiviral pills, virus-fighting antibodies engineered to stick around in people’s bodies and fast-turnaround testing linked to treatment options.
It’s a huge part of the toolbox; if we can move everything upstream, instead of trying to treat hospitalized patients with late-stage severe disease,” said David Boulware, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Minnesota Medical School. (Washington Post)