Biden has begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral medication shown to prevent serious Covid cases.

The antiviral pill that President Biden started taking after testing positive for coronavirus has been shown to protect people at high risk of progressing to more severe cases of Covid-19.

Even so, researchers are still working to answer important questions about the drug, including how well it works in vaccinated people and whether cases “recover” in people who don’t. used the drug is common or not.

Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published last month, which combined data from a large California health care system, found that more than 5,000 people prescribed Paxlovid for mild to moderate Covid cases – many of whom were vaccinated – less than 1% require hospital or emergency room care. Only six Covid-related hospital admissions and 39 emergency department visits occurred within 5 to 15 days of taking the drug, the study found.

The researchers caution that there are significant limitations to the study, including the lack of an untreated control group, making it difficult to determine its true benefit or compare it with the benefit of the injections. coronavirus vaccine becomes more difficult.

Medicine, authorized in December for infected, high-risk individuals 12 years of age and older, has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 88% when administered to adults within five days of the onset of symptoms. That data was collected in unvaccinated individuals when the Delta variant of the virus was highly circulating.

Treatment is meant to be taken as 30 pills for five days. Before starting, patients should consult their healthcare provider about possible drug interactions. Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said at a White House press conference on Thursday that Mr. Biden had been asked to pause two drugs he takes, a cholesterol-lowering drug and another. blood-thinning medication, so as not to take serious risks. effect from Paxlovid.

Scientists are also working to find out if Paxlovid can lead to a relapse of symptoms or a positive test, a trend known as recovery. Dr Jha said on Thursday that data from major health systems showing such an outcome was rare, with the percentage of Paxlovid recipients having experienced “single-digit” recovery.

“When people recover, they don’t have to go to the hospital. Dr. Jha said. “Paxlovid is working really well in preventing serious illness, recovering or not, and that is why he was recommended. And that’s why the president took it.”

Among the victims of the recovery was Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, who bag from a second episode of symptoms and another positive test last month after a few days of testing negative after a course of treatment.

The CDC has issued a urgent health advice in May, said people experiencing recovery “should begin isolation and quarantine again” for at least five days, reflecting the agency’s Isolation recommendation for people infected with the virus.

It also said that based on a number of reports, the resurgence of the outbreak did not represent a re-infection of the coronavirus or the development of drug resistance to Paxlovid.

Rebecca Robbins contributed reporting.

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