Swallow the pill or take a shot in the arm

By Lisa Rose-Rodriguez

The virus, known officially as SARS-CoV-2, but goes by the nicknames of Corona and Covid, is an unrelenting pathogen that travels the world as it infects millions of people from China to Europe to the United States, and more.

The news and social media are inundated with prevention methods about vaccines, especially with the highly contagious Omicron version. The media is reporting little about medicines that are being developed to treat the virus. In the world of infectious disease, treatment comes after infection. Vaccines are designed to prevent infections and produce herd immunity. This means that if enough people receive the vaccine the ability to reduce new infections occurs.

 

On December 22, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration made the following announcement:

        Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets, co-packaged for oral use) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms or about 88 pounds) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset. 

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-first-oral-antiviral-treatment-covid-19#:~:text=Today%2C%20the%20U.S.%20Food%20and,of%20age%20and%20older%20weighing

 

            My professional insight into this muting of the available pharmaceutical treatment is that many people may interpret this as a cure, not a treatment. Cure means the disease is removed and you as a patient are restored. But the language in the quote explains the treatment protocols. The health care providers have to access if the patients are actually treatable. Unfortunately, this means it is not designed for people who are the sickest.

 

              So now this discussion returns to Public Health prevention; the vaccine is still the biggest tool in the arsenal.