June 26, 2022

The South Korean health authorities in order to boost its measures towards the spread of COVID-19 in the country, has announced to have begun reviewing an emergency authorization of U.S. drug giant Pfizer Inc.’s oral drug to treat the same.

According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and Pfizer, the drug company’s Paxlovid is the antiviral pill for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients at increased risk of hospitalization or death.

If the government so authorizes Paxlovid, it would become the first oral antiviral of its kind in the country.

About Paxlovid –

• The drug candidate specifically designed to be administered orally is based on a protease inhibitor antiviral therapy.
• The design has been made such so that it can be prescribed at the first sign of COVID-19 infection or at first awareness of exposure.

According to Pfizer, Paxlovid’s trial results showed that it reduces the risk of hospitalization or death in patients at high risk of severe illness by 89 percent, and within three days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

It has been noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is poised to grant an Emergency Use Authorization approval of Paxlovid along with Merck & Co.’s pill sometime this week.

South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum on Wednesday announced that by the middle of next month they will secure an additional 10,000 hospital beds for patients with moderate to serious cases of COVID-19, thus raising their total number to 25,000. The move comes as the country battle’s the rise of infection cases and shortage of hospital beds.

According to the government, it will also ask national university hospitals to provide at least 300 extra beds in order to treat critically ill patients, and designate additional such hospitals to supply more 3,000 beds.

He has pledged the government’s full support for these hospitals, by mentioning that it will send doctors in the military and other public sectors to the frontline and offer plenty of financial aid.

President Moon Jae-in earlier this week had requested national university hospitals to focus their resources on treating critically ill COVID-19 patients and for the government to prepare for the situation in which the new omicron variant becomes the dominant version of COVID-19 in the country.