State officials in Maryland say they've gotten the first load of two new antiviral medicines that may guard people with COVID-19 from becoming seriously ill or dying.
The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that the drugs are called Paxlovid and Molnupiravir.
The Maryland Department of Health said that the medications are given to infected patients in pill form over five days. Treatment starts as soon as symptoms present themselves.
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A medical trial has estimated that Paxlovid is 88% effective at warding off hospitalization or death. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized it last month for emergency use in adults with mild to moderate Covid-19 infections.
Molnupiravir also got FDA approval. The FDA said in a news release that a medical trial of about 1,400 people found that it reduced the likelihood of hospitalization or death by about 30%.
Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the authorization is “a major step forward.”
The medications, she said, provide “a new tool to combat COVID-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge, and promises to make antiviral treatment more accessible to patients who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.”