By Marlee Ginter

DAVIS (CBS13) – A new COVID-19 treatment could curb the virus and keep more people out of the hospital.  It’s in limited supply and only offered through UC Davis Health in the Sacramento area.

One small box can make a big difference in the fight against coronavirus. Pfizer’s COVID treatment pill, Paxlovid, has already proven to be highly effective against the omicron variant.

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“Think of this medication as a way to fight against the virus that’s replicating very quickly,” Timothy Cutler, UC Davis Health Assistant Chief Pharmacist, told CBS13.

Cutler says Paxlovid stops the virus from replicating, basically allowing your body to take over and kill it.
It comes as yet another variant, BA-2 omicron, has already proven to spread rapidly leaving the unvaccinated at much higher risk of death and serious illness.

“We’re now seeing a variant that is going to be much more contagious than omicron and will likely take over the space occupied by the original variant,” said Dr. Anne Rimoin, UCLA epidemiologist.

Meantime, trials show Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% percent in high-risk patients.

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“It’s important to realize this needs to be taken within the first five days of symptoms. So it needs to be taken early,” said Cutler.

It’s a five-day treatment with three pills taken in the morning and then again at night. Paxlovid is being hailed as a major step forward in the pandemic.

“It starts to work right away as soon as you take the medication. Now, is it going to stop all those aches and pains your describing? Probably not, but is it going to keep you out of the hospital? Almost certainly it will,” said Cutler.

Right now it’s only being offered to the most at-risk patients and there’s an extremely limited supply. But UC Davis Health expects Paxlovid to be more widely available in the community soon.

 

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