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British study to test Pfizer’s COVID-19 pills in hospitalized patients

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March 28 (Reuters) – A British trial will investigate U.S. drugmaker Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 pill as a possible treatment for hospitalized patients with the disease, scientists reported on Monday, at a time when coronavirus cases in the world increase again.

The world’s largest randomized study of potential COVID-19 drugs, called the RECOVERY trial, will test Paxlovid in UK hospitals.

It has already been approved in the country for the early-stage treatment of coronavirus infections.

“Paxlovid is a promising oral antiviral drug, but we don’t know if it can improve survival in patients with severe COVID-19,” contributed Peter Horby, Professor at the University of Oxford and lead co-investigator of the RECOVERY trial.

Scientists noted that their main goal is to find out if Paxlovid reduces the risk of death among patients admitted to hospitals with COVID-19.

The study, led by the University of Oxford, will also investigate whether the treatment shortens the length of hospital stay or reduces the need for a mechanical ventilator, they added.

Pfizer’s treatment is part of a class of drugs called protease inhibitors, currently used to treat HIV, hepatitis C and other viruses, and works by stopping the virus from replicating.

(Reporting by Shaanima A in Bangalore; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)

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