Wednesday, January 11, 2023

On The COVID-19 Drug Paxlovid

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Science & Society, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

Because I took the drug Paxlovid when COVID-19 and I collided, this essay in Nature grabbed my attention. Writer Max Kozlov explores what has happened since following its description as a game-changer (that phrase is way overused in my opinion).

The return of COVID-19 symptoms following recovery and declining concern about COVID-19 caused illness. Kozlov writes,  "As a result, physicians have prescribed the drug in only about 0.5% of new COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom, and in about 13% * in the United States, according to a report by the health-analytics firm Airfinity, based in London, UK."

He also reports that "Sentiment against the drug has persisted even as regulators globally have rescinded authorizations for monoclonal antibodies against  COVID-19, leaving Paxlovid as one of the only tools to prevent death in high-risk individuals, says Davey Smith, an infectious-disease physician at the University of California, San Diego. 'It’s a game-changer drug that has good efficacy, even in the  setting of Omicron,' says Smith. 'But rebound has been tagged as a reason not to take the drug, which is a shame.'"

Among the issues discussed by Kozlov are Paxlovid's inititial provision of premium protection, the fact that both those who use and don't use the drug suffer the rebound effect, its strange taste to some patients which varies (I occasionally experienced the tinny metallic taste.), and health system issues which I summarized in one word, infrastructure. The comments on infrastructure are very much worth reading.

Kozlov closes his reporting that "COVID-19 isn’t going away," one expert said, "so it's important to develop other antiviral drugs.  Paxlovid could soon have competition: in November, Japan authorized ensitrelvir, a once-daily antiviral made by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi...". 

Please read the article which NatureNews tells me will take about 5 minutes. It is also a great report.
* My primary care nurse is an experience PA and interestingly she told me that she didn't think I needed to take Paxlovid given my symptoms. However, she also said if I requested it she would prescribe it. Now, I think she was right.

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