S Korea authorises emergency use of Pfizer’s oral coronavirus treatment

South Korea restored tough distancing curbs last week after
easing them in November, after a series of record daily new infections and
serious cases stretched medical services, despite a vaccination rate of over 92%
for those aged 18 or older.

Pfizer’s oral antiviral treatment, called Paxlovid, is
“expected to help prevent serious deterioration of patients admitted to
residential treatment centres or being treated at home,” by diversifying
coronavirus treatments beyond injections currently used in the field, drug
safety minister Kim Gang-lip told a press briefing.

The drug will be used for adults or children 12 years or
older weighing over 40 kilogrammes with mild to moderate symptoms with a high
risk of developing a severe case of coronavirus due to causes such as
underlying diseases.

Another oral coronavirus treatment called molnupiravir,
developed by Merck known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada,
applied for emergency use earlier this month, but the ministry is still
reviewing as they need additional info on efficacy, Kim said.

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