Oral Covid Med Approved for High Risk Groups

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

The Israeli Health Ministry has approved use of a newly-developed oral medication for people at high risk for Covid.

The Ministry granted emergency approval on Sunday to Paxlovid, an anti-viral oral medication produced by Pfizer, which last week gained U.S. Federal Drug Administration emergency authorization for those ages 12 and up.

Israel has signed a deal with Pfizer for the drug and a shipment is expected to arrive in the coming days.

The drug has yielded a nearly 90% reduction in hospitalization and fatalities among patients considered most susceptible to severe illness, thus offsetting reported mild side effects.

Patients at the greatest risk for COVID complications are instructed to take the pill within 3-5 days of the onset of symptoms, the ministry says. It is expected to be equally effective against the new Omicron variant.

The ministry did not say how many doses of the medication Israel has purchased and how many will arrive in the first shipment.