Former Asst. Health Secretary Adm. Giroir: Newly Approved COVID-19 Pills Are ‘Game Changers’

Former Asst. Health Secretary Adm. Giroir: Newly Approved COVID-19 Pills Are ‘Game Changers’

Former Assistant Health Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir said during a Fox News interview Friday that the two COVID-19 treatment pills from Pfizer and Merck, approved by the Food and Drug Administration this week for emergency use, are “game changers” to prevent hospitalization and death from the coronavirus.

“Both of these prevented deaths, and they had a high degree of prevention of hospitalization,” Adm. Giroir said during an interview with Fox News Friday. “I think they’re game changers. We need as many millions of these as possible, coupled with tests and putting them in the hands of those who are at high risk.”

The FDA approved Pfizer’s treatment of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets, co-packaged and marketed as Paxlovid, for emergency use as a treatment for COVID-19 on Tuesday, followed by approving Merck’s molnupiravir tablet on Wednesday.

“Today’s authorization introduces the first treatment for COVID-19 that is in the form of a pill that is taken orally — a major step forward in the fight against this global pandemic,” Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research,  said in a press release Tuesday announcing the Pfizer approval.

“This authorization provides a new tool to combat COVID-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge and promises to make antiviral treatment more accessible to patients who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.”

The agency made a similar announcement for the Merck pill on Wednesday.

“Today’s authorization provides an additional treatment option against the COVID-19 virus in the form of a pill that can be taken orally. Molnupiravir is limited to situations where other FDA-authorized treatments for COVID-19 are inaccessible or are not clinically appropriate and will be a useful treatment option for some patients with COVID-19 at high risk of hospitalization or death,” Cavazzoni said regarding the Merck pill’s approval Wednesday.

“As new variants of the virus continue to emerge, it is crucial to expand the country’s arsenal of COVID-19 therapies using emergency use authorization, while continuing to generate additional data on their safety and effectiveness.” 

Giroir said that the new treatments are critical if people have an underlying condition, which can put them at a greater risk for bad outcomes.

“If you’re elderly, co-morbid, have other conditions, immunosuppressed — you really need this,” he said. “You need these oral pills, you need monoclonal antibodies, you need everything to protect you, and we can do that now.”

Even with the new pills, Giroir said that vaccination is the best protection against hospitalization or death from the virus.

“We have tools, the science has come through,” he said. “The Trump administration brought vaccines, and every day we have more and more therapies.” 

© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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