Pfizer Gains as UK Nod Boosts Pill’s Prospects Amid Omicron Surge

By Dhirendra Tripathi – Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) stock traded 0.7% higher in Monday’s premarket as it continued its momentum from U.K.’s approval to the company’s Covid-19 pill, which boosts chances of the oral drug finding wider acceptance amid omicron surge.

The company has earlier said that lab data suggests the antiviral retains its effectiveness against omicron, the fastest-spreading mutant of coronavirus and the reason behind the all-time high daily infections in many countries over last few days, including in the U.S.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s nod came Friday. The pill already has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval.

The company claims that its pill against the infection has near 90% efficacy in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients.

“We now have a further antiviral medicine for the treatment of Covid-19 that can be taken by mouth rather than administered intravenously. This means it can be administered outside a hospital setting, before Covid-19 has progressed to a severe stage,” an MHRA release quoted its Chief Executive June Raine as saying.

The at-home treatment can be prescribed to high-risk patients, 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg (88 lbs), who tested positive for Covid-19 — potentially helping patients avoid severe illness and reducing hospitalizations and deaths from the viral infection. 

The pill is a protease inhibitor, which blocks the activity of a key enzyme that the coronavirus needs in order to replicate. Protease inhibitors are also used to treat HIV, hepatitis C and other viruses.



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