Heart and Brain in Pleven participates with a big number of Bulgarian patients in Pfizer’s trial for a new anti-Covid pill

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Pfizer’s combination anti-Covid treatment was found to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 89%

A pill to treat Covid developed by the US company Pfizer reduces the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in vulnerable adults, results from a clinical trial show. In total, the study participants were 1,219 unvaccinated adults with mild to moderate symptoms who were considered at high risk of hospitalization due to health problems such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease. Professor Iana Simova’s team at the high-tech Heart and Brain Center of Clinical Excellence in Pleven, was able to enroll (randomize) and follow up a big number of patients in the described study within an extremely short period of time with an innovative oral anti-Covid-19 therapy designed for use at home (outpatients) to prevent hospitalization and mortality. The successful and significant contribution of the hospital in Pleven, is due both to the dedication of the team and to the perfect organization of the study: specialized and isolated triage center for patients with (suspected) Covid-19, organization of transport, including ambulances, observing all quarantine measures, full assistance in case of need for hospitalization.

The drug Paxlovid is intended for use soon after the onset of symptoms in people at high risk of severe disease, taking three tablets twice daily for five days. The therapy blocks an enzyme that the virus needs to multiply. When taken alongside a low dose of another antiviral drug called ritonavir, it stays in the body for longer. Pfizer announced that the trials would be terminated early because the initial results were extremely encouraging.

Summary of trial results

Interim data from trial of the treatment in 1219 high-risk patients who had recently been infected with Covid showed that only 0.8% of those given Paxlovid were hospitalized, compared with 7% of patients who were given a placebo.

They were treated within three days after the onset of Covid symptoms.

Seven patients given placebo died compared to none in the group given Paxlovid.

When treated within five days of symptom onset, 1%  given Paxlovid were hospitalized, with no deaths recorded. In comparison, 6.7% of the placebo group ended up in hospital and 10 of them died.

According to Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, “The success of these antivirals potentially marks a new era in our ability to prevent the severe consequences of Sars-CoV2 infection, and is also a vital element for the care of clinically vulnerable people who may be unable to receive or respond to vaccines.”

Pfizer is also studying the treatment’s impact on people at low risk of infection and those who have been exposed to the virus. Heart and Brain Center of Clinical Excellence in Pleven is participating in both of these projects.

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