It won’t be long until two years have passed since the coronavirus crept into our lives, changing them completely. It is true that the situation has improved compared to the first months of last year, but the numbers of infections after the arrival of the Omicron variant have made us have to worry again. Not because of its effects, since they seem to be milder than those of previous variants, but because of its high contagion capacity.
Vaccines are a key element in the fight against coronavirus. The vaccination campaign in our country is a success, with 37,815,104 people with the complete guideline, which represents 82.93% of the population and 84,521,081 administered doses, according to Datadista data. The campaign for the third dose and the vaccinations of the youngest are progressing at a good pace, and consequently there are reasons for optimism, although always from caution, even more so with the current numbers.
Now, it is already known that the vaccine does not prevent infection, what it does is reduce the effects of the infection, making your symptoms milder. However, there are many circumstances that can lead a person, even when vaccinated, to experience more serious symptoms and, even, to be life-threatening. In fact, these cases are precisely the ones that deniers seize on to question the effectiveness of the vaccine against the coronavirus.
For these cases, specific treatments are still necessary, a field in which until now the absolute protagonist has been the antiviral Remdesivir, whose approval in Europe has recently been extended to people with a higher level of risk but who still do not need oxygen therapy to prevent hypoxia, one of the most dangerous effects of the coronavirus. But nevertheless, Pfizer just got Paxlovid approval from the FDA, a treatment in pill format that could make treatments much easier.
Paxlovid combines a new antiviral drug called Nirmatrelvir and an older one called Ritonavir and given as three pills twice a day for five days. Treatment should be started as soon as the first symptoms of the coronavirus are detected and, according to studies carried out so far, treatment reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% if administered to high-risk adults within a few days of your first symptoms.
This antiviral treatment for coronavirus It has been authorized for people aged 12 or over weighing 40 kilos or more who have undergone a positive PCR. Given, however, that at least for now it is only recommended for high-risk people, the FDA has determined that Paxlovid must be prescribed by a doctor. However, it is possible that this limitation to high-risk people will be reduced in the future, when more knowledge is gained about its side effects.
This is, in principle at least, good news. A pill-based coronavirus treatment is considerably easier to follow than an injectable one, as is the case with Remdesivir. And the combination of vaccines to prevent it with treatments to deal with it if there is a risk situation, draw a perspective that invites, as I said at the beginning, optimism. Cautious, yes, but optimism.