Pfizer’s Covid-19 pill Paxlovid not substitute for vaccines or SOP compliance, says Health DG

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

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By Ling Hui

KUCHING, March 6: Paxlovid — a Covid-19 oral antiviral treatment produced by Pfizer — is not a replacement for Covid-19 vaccination or public health measures especially compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this when introducing Paxlovid as the latest addition to Malaysia’s arsenal of treatments for Covid-19 infections.

He said Paxlovid, comprising nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets, is recommended to treat Covid-19 in adults aged 18 and above not requiring oxygen therapy and at high risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms.

“Paxlovid contains nirmatrelvir which inhibits the SARS-CoV-2 protein and prevents the virus from multiplying.

“Ritonavir on the other hand delays the process of breaking down nirmatrelvir and helps maintain the effect and concentration of antivirals for a longer period of time,” he said in a social media post yesterday (March 5).

In terms of usage, Dr Noor Hisham said Paxlovid is given immediately after the individual tests positive for Covid-19 and within five days of the first appearance of symptoms for optimal effectiveness.

A Covid-19 patient should take two nirmatrelvir pills and one ritonavir pill per use, twice a day for five days. Note that Paxlovid must not be consumed continuously for more than five days.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced yesterday that Malaysia will receive an initial shipment of 110,000 treatment courses of Paxlovid this month. — DayakDaily