FACT FINDERS: Taking a look at COVID treatment pills from Pfizer, Merk

Early data suggests one is much more effective than the other
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 8:26 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2021 at 8:41 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Pfizer and Merk both have COVID-19 treatment pills that the FDA is considering.

Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merk’s Molnupiravir are both antiviral pills. However, they are very different in terms of how they work and how well they work.

Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya with the University of Arizona said it appears Pfizer’s treatment is much more effective.

When it comes to reducing hospitalization or death, the latest data shows Molnupiravir is about 30% effective and that is lower than researchers initially thought.

Paxlovid, on the other hand, is about 89% effective.

That is a big difference but Bhattacharya said what each pill does in your body is very different as well.

”The Merk, as you said, what it does is it causes the virus to mutate so quickly that it kills itself,” he said. “So far, what we’ve seen from the Pfizer (pill), it does something different. It sort of blocks a different part of the virus life cycle and that one it seems is a bit more of an Achilles heel for the virus.”

No word yet when either of these treatments might become available.

Right now, the only antiviral authorized by the FDA is Remdesivir. Unlike the pills, you cannot take it at home as it administered intravenously.

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