New Covid pill described as game-changing slashes hospitalisation risk by 89%

A groundbreaking pill could help cut the risk of hospitalisation caused by the coronavirus by a whopping 89%.

It has been described as "game-changing" and the experimental drug will need to be taken to help work against symptoms of the illness once they occur.

'Paxlovid' has been successfully developed by two drugs companies and works as a "protease inhibitor". That means it works to stop the virus from multiplying and causing severe health problems.

Clinical trial results suggest that the 89% drop can be caused by taking the Pfizer pill, of which the UK has ordered 250,000 courses.

They have also ordered 480,000 from Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), who were the first to develop the pill, announced the day before Pfizer's news on Friday.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: "If approved, this could be another significant weapon in our armoury to fight the virus alongside our vaccines and other treatments."

The news is an exciting development for people who have been coping with the pandemic since its outbreak and who continue to to worry about particularly vulnerable loved ones.

Who can take the pill and how will it help?

We don't know just yet who exactly the pill will be available to, but it is possible that people with an underlying health condition will take priority.

Also, the treatment has not yet been approved by the right people in order for it to be given out to the general public, though it is still an exciting development.

This means people with diseases like heart disease, obesity or diabetes.

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The Pfizer trial involved people taking the pill within three to five days of symptoms developing and doing so for the next five days.

Proffessor Penny Ward, from King's College London, not involved in the study, told the BBC: "If these outcomes are replicated in the UK population, then the number of cases requiring hospital admission could be halved and the number of deaths greatly reduced.

"It seems likely that it will be restricted for use by those at highest risk of disease complications – for example older adults with heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes or cancer."

For now, however, the government will continue to focus on vaccinations as the best way to treat the virus. People who are eligible are now able to use walk-in centres up and down the country to receive their booster jab.

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