Covid-19 antiviral pill could be a game changer, but vaccines are still America’s way out of the pandemic, experts say

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According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 255,767 people in the US are fully vaccinated every day. And more than 65% of eligible Americans have been fully vaccinated, the data shows.

At the same time, the US hit a grim milestone on Friday, surpassing 700,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. According to the data, the US tops the world for Covid-19 deaths, followed by Brazil with nearly 600,000 deaths.
news from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics On Friday, he created an antiviral pill that could reduce Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths by 50%, hailed by health experts, though he warned it was not a replacement for vaccination.
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“It can be used with a vaccine. And it’s not a substitute for vaccination. We still have to try to get more people vaccinated,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told Granthshala on Friday. ” .

Gottlieb acknowledged that the antiviral drug could be effective for people who choose not to be vaccinated, as well as those who catch the virus during a thorough vaccination.


“This is the most impressive result I remember seeing an orally available drug in the treatment of a respiratory pathogen,” Gottlieb told Granthshala’s Anderson Cooper. “I think getting an oral pill that can stop viral replication — which can stop this virus — is going to be a real game-changer.”

Merck said on Friday it would seek FDA emergency use authorization for its mollupiravir drug “as soon as possible.” If allowed, it would become the first oral drug that fights the viral infection for COVID-19.

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Jeff Gents, the White House’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator, said on Friday, “If approved, I think the right way to think about it is to put people in our toolbox to help protect people from the worst consequences of COVID-19.” for a potential additional tool.”

The giants echoed Gottlieb’s stance on vaccination, underscoring that inoculation remains “our best tool against Covid-19” because the shots can prevent people from becoming infected in the first place.

“And we want to prevent infections, not wait to treat them after they happen,” Ziants said.

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Meanwhile, Louisiana reported on Friday that a child under the age of four had died of Covid-19. This was the state’s 17th child death due to the virus.

“We are indebted to ourselves, our children, and everyone around us for taking advantage of the best protection we have, and that is getting the vaccine and wearing a mask,” said Louisiana State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Cantor.

The delta version of the coronavirus has made infections in children much more common than at the beginning of the pandemic.
Merck & Co. said on Friday that its experimental COVID-19 pill has cut hospitalizations and deaths in people recently infected with the coronavirus by half.

More booster talks to come

Americans receiving vaccines from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson can expect to hear the next steps for booster shots this month.

The FDA will meet with its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on October 14 and 15 to discuss boosters for vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use only in people 18 years of age and older. The agency said Friday that the committee would also consider data on the booster’s “mix and match”.

Only Pfizer’s COVID-19 two-dose vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for people 12 and older. Pfizer’s booster shot is authorized for emergency use for people 65 and older, people at high risk of serious illness, and people whose jobs put them at risk of infection.

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Since August 13, more than 4.03 million people have received an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or booster.

The FDA Vaccine Committee is also set to discuss Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 on October 26. Pfizer has begun submitting data about this age group to the agency, but has yet to formally request emergency use authorization.

The independent advisory committee typically discusses and makes recommendations to the FDA on vaccine authorizations and approvals. Then, the agency makes the final decision.

Vaccine mandate continues into practice

As federal health officials consider booster shots, vaccine mandates are being implemented more widely – and some are not happy with the move.
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On Friday, American Airlines told its US employees that they must comply with the Biden administration’s requirement to vaccinate against COVID-19. The airline noted that its business with the federal government meant it would be covered under the mandate, but fell short of saying when the requirement went into effect.

The airline said religious and disability-related exemptions would be available, but there would be no “provision for the regular test option”.

“While we are still working through the details of the federal requirements, it is clear that team members who choose to remain without vaccinations will not be able to work at American Airlines,” said airline management sent to employees. A memo according to Granthshala.

Meanwhile, Ochsner Health in Louisiana said it will charge employees enrolled in its upcoming 2022 health care benefits for spouses and domestic partners who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
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“This is not a mandate because non-employed spouses and domestic partners can choose to opt for a health plan outside of Ochsner Health offerings. Spouses and domestic partners with medical and religious objections, in accordance with our Employee Immunization Policy, Will be able to file waiver requests, Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health, said in a statement this week.

Granthshala’s Naomi Thomas, Virginia Langmead, Jamie Gumbrecht, Gregory Wallace, Rebekah Rees, Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.


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