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The Biden administration buys 10 million doses of Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 drug
The drug blocks an enzyme the virus needs to replicate in human cells, which renders them unable to multiply and spread within the body.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced today that the Biden administration purchased 10 million doses of Paxlovid, an antiviral drug developed to treat symptomatic adults who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are at higher risk of hospitalization or death.
“This promising treatment could help accelerate our path out of this pandemic by offering another life-saving tool for people who get sick with COVID-19,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “With President Biden’s leadership, we are using all resources at our disposal to prepare for any future pandemic needs. Getting vaccinated remains the most important action anyone can take to help protect themselves and others and end this pandemic, but for people who do get sick in the future and are at risk of severe outcomes, having pills they can take to keep them out of the hospital could be a lifesaver.”
Paxlovid works by blocking an enzyme the virus needs to replicate in human cells, which renders them unable to multiply and spread within the body. Pfizer will provide the first doses by the end of the year and continue through 2022, pending Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. The US government paid nearly $5.3 billion for the doses.
Meanwhile, the White House’s coronavirus task force is focused on vaccinating as many kids and adults as quickly as possible. Officials announced yesterday that 2.6 million kids ages 5 to 11 have gotten their first shot, which represents 10 percent of kids in the 10 days the program has been at full strength. The White House said it took about 50 days for the country to reach 10 percent of adults with one shot. And it took three months to cross two and a half million shots in arms when the polio vaccine was first rolled out for kids in the 1950s. The country reached another milestone yesterday: 80 percent of Americans 12 and older have received at least one shot. On the booster front, 31 million Americans have received an additional dose.
“We know vaccinations are the best way to accelerate our path out of the pandemic,” Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator said. “We know there’s more work to do, but these milestones represent critical progress and show we are on the right track in our fight against the virus.”