US makes COVID antiviral drugs more available at testing sites

US makes COVID antiviral drugs more available at testing sites

The White House on Thursday announced further steps to make antiviral treatment for Baxilovid more accessible across the United States as it expects the spread of COVID-19 infections to continue during the summer travel season.

The White House on Thursday announced further steps to make antiviral treatment for Baxilovid more accessible across the United States as it expects the spread of COVID-19 infections to continue during the summer travel season.

The nation’s first federally subsidized treatment testing site opened Thursday in Rhode Island, providing patients with immediate access to the drug once they test positive. More federally supported locations are set to open in the coming weeks in Massachusetts and New York City, both of which are experiencing a marked rise in infections.

Next week, the United States will send approved federally-approved prescriptions to several Minnesota-operated testing sites, turning them into testing and treatment sites. Federal regulators have also sent clearer guidance to clinicians to help them determine how to manage interactions of baxlovid with other drugs, with a focus on helping prescribers find ways to get life-saving drugs to more patients.

Despite the surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, deaths from the virus have remained largely stable over the past eight weeks, as vaccine-enhanced vaccines and widely accessible treatments have helped untie the connection between infections and deaths.

Confirmed infections in the United States have quadrupled since late March, from about 25,000 a day to more than 105,000 a day now. But deaths, which tended to delay infection by three to four weeks over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, have been steadily declining and are now declining at less than 300 a day.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr Ashish Jha said it is the first time in the context of the pandemic that the two are not heading together. He described it as an important development in helping Americans return to a normal life.

He said: “What has been remarkable in the recent increase in infections that we see is the extent to which the serious illness, especially the deaths, persists eight weeks after that.” “COVID is no longer the killer it was a year ago.”

Jha said that given the widespread use of rapid at-home tests, the results of which are often not reported to public health officials, the true number of daily infections is likely to be 200,000 or more — twice the reported rate — which he said only makes the death rate plateau. . more important.

He credits vaccines but also a more than fourfold increase in prescriptions over the past six weeks for the highly effective treatment Paxlovid.

Jha said about 25,000 to 30,000 courses of Paxlovid are prescribed daily. When the drug is taken within five days of the onset of symptoms, it has been shown to result in a 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths among patients most at risk of becoming seriously ill.

Because of the change in the way Paxlovid is allocated to states, the number of pharmacies where it is available has doubled in the past month to nearly 40,000.

“We’re now at a point where I basically think most COVID deaths are preventable, the deaths that happen there are mostly unnecessary, and there’s a lot of tools we have now to make sure that people don’t die from this disease,” Jha told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

As the summer months approach, Jha said the “number one” thing people have to do is “go and get a boost” — and if they have an unexplained infection, they should see a doctor about getting baxlovid. He said gatherings of all sizes can take place more safely because of the tools available – if people use them.

“In places in the country where booster rates are much lower, where infections are starting to spread more, I am very concerned that we will, unfortunately, see more serious disease,” he said.

“Vaccinating and boosting is a big part of making sure these types of activities are significantly safer,” he added. “And then, of course, we want to make Paxlovid more widely available across the country, so that if you end up getting infected, you’re still protected from serious illness.”

The United States has ordered 20 million courses of baxlovid from drugmaker Pfizer, and the country risks running out of them this winter if the drug continues to be widely used. The White House has been lobbying Congress for additional funds for months to support the purchase of more Baxilovide and other treatments, as well as additional boosters.

While the administration has begun planning for the possible need to legalize the federal supply of vaccines if Congress does not act, for now, Jha said his message to prescribers is that they should not worry about the supply.

“I think we should use as much as is necessary to protect Americans now,” Jha said.

Zeke Miller, The Associated Press











2022-05-26 09:34:19

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