South Korea to start treating people with Covid19 antiviral pills
South Korea will begin treating coronavirus patients with Pfizer’s antiviral pills on Friday, health officials said, as concern mounts over the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. At least 21,000 of the pills, called Paxlovid, arrived on Thursday to be distributed to some 280 pharmacies and 90 residential treatment centres, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
The medication will be used to treat more than 1,000 people a day, with priority groups including patients at high risk of severe illness, those aged 65 or older and those with reduced immunity, the KDCA said.
South Korea’s food and drug safety ministry, meanwhile, announced it had authorised the Novavax vaccine, which joins the ranks of previously authorised vaccines made by AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.
The two-dose, protein-based vaccine has secured authorisations from European Union regulators and the World Health Organization. It has been authorised in India, Indonesia and the Philippines, where Novavax’s partner, Serum Institute of India, will supply it.
The vaccine is also currently under review by multiple additional regulatory agencies worldwide and the company expects to receive additional worldwide authorizations in the first half of 2022.