KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 – Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill has been an effective treatment for Covid-19 in Malaysia so far, after the Covid-19 medication led to the full recovery of 173 patients with no reported side effects as of May 9.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, in a statement today, said that Paxlovid, which was initiated for Covid-19 treatment in Malaysia since April 15, is prioritised for high-risk Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
The Paxlovid treatment, developed by Pfizer, consists of three pills taken twice daily for five days for a full course of 30 pills.
Paxlovid is an oral antiviral therapy consisting of two separate medications packaged together: two pills are nirmatrelvir and the other is ritonavir. Nirmatrelvir inhibits replication of the SARS-CoV-2 protein, while ritonavir was once used to treat HIV/AIDS but is now used to boost antiviral medication.
Khairy said Malaysia prioritises Paxlovid for Covid-19 patients aged 18 and above, with Category Two or Three Covid infection who do not require oxygen therapy, but have underlying conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems, asthma or chronic lung conditions, heart disease, and cancer.
Covid patients who qualify can present themselves to Covid Assessment Centres (CAC) or public hospitals to be evaluated before they are given Paxlovid, Khairy said. The Covid pills are available at 512 CACs and 78 public hospitals nationwide.
“The medication should be given immediately within five days from the onset of symptoms for optimal effectiveness to reduce the risk of more severe Covid complications,” Khairy said.
A trial conducted by Pfizer last year showed that Paxlovid can reduce the risk of Covid-19 hospitalisation and death by 89 per cent. Khairy stressed, however, that the pills are not replacements of Covid vaccinations or restrictions placed to minimise the spread of the virus.
Khairy previously said Malaysia has ordered 104,000 courses of Paxlovid and is seeking to purchase another 100,000 courses of the drug from Pfizer.