USA – The United States has increased its order for Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid from 10 million to 20 million courses, the company has announced.

With two COVID-fighting antiviral pills now available, the US government is requesting a second dose of Pfizer’s treatment.

At the same time, a senior Biden administration official told Fox News that the government wants to speed up the delivery of those treatments.

Pfizer stated in a release that approximately 10 million treatment courses of the antiviral, also known as nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets, are scheduled to be delivered by the end of June.

Pfizer estimates that the remaining 10 million courses will be delivered by the end of September.

The purchase comes ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with his COVID-19 response team on Tuesday.

According to a Biden administration official, the president intends to cite studies that show Paxlovid can “greatly reduce the chances of hospitalization and death for those at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID.”

The latest acquisition suggests that Pfizer’s pandemic revenue forecast will need to be revised—again.

The announcement comes after the United States purchased 10 million Paxlovid courses for US$5.29 billion in November.

The FDA approved Pfizer’s Paxlovid for emergency use in late December. Because of its efficacy, low cost, and ease of administration, the pill has been hailed as a potential game changer.

Meanwhile, Pfizer announced that it was increasing manufacturing capacity for the drug ahead of its holiday season approval, stating that it expects to produce 80 million Paxlovid courses by the end of 2022. It had previously stated that it intended to produce 50 million courses.

Paxlovid was quickly followed by Merck & Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ molnupiravir, which received the FDA’s emergency approval the day after Pfizer’s pill.

According to health officials and industry observers, a diverse arsenal of COVID-19 therapeutics is required to supplement vaccines, particularly in light of concerning variants such as omicron.

“With the Omicron variant surging, the availability of and accessibility to treatment options is of utmost importance, as millions of people are being diagnosed with COVID-19 each and every day,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, Ph.D., said in a statement.

“With data showing significant reductions in hospitalizations and deaths, along with the potential for Paxlovidto maintain robust antiviral activity against Omicron, we believe this therapy will be an important tool in the fight against COVID-19,” he continued.

Paxlovid may already have an advantage over molnupiravir due to its superior efficacy and safety profile. As a result, Pfizer’s pill may become more widely used than Merck’s.

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