According to a federal health data analysis conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care system, taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid within five days of testing positive reduces the risk of long-term health problems, hospitalization, and death after a COVID-19 infection.
Paxlovid works by preventing the virus that causes COVID-19 from growing and reducing the virus’s presence in the body. According to the research, the medication’s benefits last for up to six months after infection. Furthermore, the effects are felt by those who are unvaccinated, vaccinated, and vaccinated with consecutive booster shots, as well as those who have recovered from COVID-19 but are re-infected one or more times.
The results were published in JAMA Internal Medicine on March 23.
Pfizer’s Paxlovid is the trade name for an oral antiviral medication containing the drugs nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. The US Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for the medication in late 2021, allowing it to be prescribed to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in individuals at risk of progressing to severe COVID-19. People aged 50 and up, as well as adults and children aged 12 and up, who have heart, kidney, or lung disease, diabetes or obesity, cancer, or immune disorders, are deemed at risk.
The World Health Organization has tracked about 760 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began three years ago. It estimates that one in five of those infected — or roughly 152 million people — have suffered from long COVID-19, a condition linked to heart attack, stroke, memory disorders, debilitating fatigue, pancreatitis, liver malfunction, epileptic seizures, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, depression and death.