Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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China gives conditional approval for Pfizer COVID pill Paxlovid

China says it has given “conditional” approval for Pfizer’s COVID-19 drug Paxlovid to treat adults with mild to moderate illness and a high risk of developing severe disease.

The drug has so far been authorised in about 40 countries, while the European Union has permitted member states to use it before formal approval as an emergency measure against the rapidly spreading Omicron coronavirus variant.

“This is an important milestone in our fight against COVID-19,” a Pfizer representative said in a statement, without providing information about procurement.

Unlike COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer says that preliminary studies show that Paxlovid does not target the ever-evolving spike protein the coronavirus uses to invade cells, meaning it should theoretically be more variant-proof.

China’s National Medical Products Administration on Saturday said further research on the drug needed to be undertaken and submitted to the regulator.

Beijing has not yet approved any foreign-made coronavirus vaccines.

Lab tests have shown Omicron patients jabbed with the Chinese-produced Sinovac vaccine experience larger drops in antibody levels than those given the Pfizer version.

Earlier this week, Pfizer, whose vaccine developed with Germany’s BioNTech was the first approved in the United States, forecast more than $50bn in 2022 sales for its coronavirus jab and therapeutic treatment.

The company expects to make 120 million treatment courses of Paxlovid, with executives describing ongoing contract talks with about 100 governments.

China has yet to approve any COVID-19 vaccines developed by foreign drugmakers but has vaccinated 87.1 percent of its entire population by February 7 using several domestically developed shots.


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