The case for testing Paxlovid from Pfizer to treat long COVID – SABC News

Reports from two patients who were relieved of chronic COVID after taking Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) antiviral drug Paxlovid, including a self-tested scientist, provide interesting clinical trial evidence to help those suffering from crippling conditions. say experts and advocates. .

The researcher said that her chronic fatigue symptoms, which “felt like a truck was driving over me”, have disappeared after taking the two-drug oral treatment.

COVID is a looming health crisis, estimated to affect up to 30% of people infected with the coronary heart virus. It can last for months, so many people can not work. More than 200 symptoms have been linked to the disease, including pain, fatigue, brain fog, difficulty breathing and fatigue after minimal exercise.

Dr. Steven Deeks, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (USSF) and an expert in HIV medicine research, said that drug companies tend to give discounts on case studies for one patient. But such cases have helped drive research into HIV treatment, and Deeks believes that these Paxlovid cases could do the same for a long time, COVID.

“This is a very strong indication that we need to investigate antiviral therapy in this context as soon as possible,” Deeks said, adding that he had heard of another dishonest case at UCSF where chronic COVID symptoms had cut short. taken Paxlovid.

Scientists warn that these cases are “merely a creative hypothesis” and not proof that the drug has relieved chronic symptoms. But they support a leading theory that chronic COVID could be caused by the virus staying in the body for months and affecting patients’ daily lives long after the acute symptoms disappear.

The best evidence to date comes from a National Criticism Institute (NIH) study currently under review, in which researchers examined 44 people who died from COVID-19 or other causes but were infected with COVID. They found a widespread infection throughout the body, including in the brain, which can last for more than seven months after the onset of symptoms.

Paxlovid, which combines a new Pfizer pill with old antiviral ritonavir, is now licensed for use in the early days of COVID infection to prevent serious disease in at-risk patients.

Kit Longley, a spokesman for Pfizer, said the company did not have a lengthy COVID investigation and did not comment on whether it would consider it.

The drug manufacturer has two large clinical trials to test whether Paxlovid can prevent the first COVID infection. It “could provide us with relevant data to help inform future research,” Longley said.

Patients who have been suffering for many months are becoming frustrated by the lack of pharmacological research into their condition.

There are currently less than 20 clinical trials conducted by individual scientists or small drug manufacturers who are testing treatments for chronic COVID, only a few of which have gone beyond the initial stages, a Reuters review revealed.

Diana Berrent, founder of the grassroots COVID advocacy group Survivor Corps, has campaigned for the Biden administration to fund large-scale long-term clinical trials of COVID.

“We should not be doing our research based on historical reports,” she said. “This is not good enough”

‘Back to normal’

In one of the case reports, published as a pre-peer review, a healthy and vaccinated 47-year-old woman was infected with COVID in the summer of 2021. Most of her acute symptoms disappeared within 48 hours, but she continued to have severe fatigue, brain fog, post-exercise fatigue , insomnia, runny heartbeat and body aches severe enough that she could no longer work.

About six months after her first infection, she became infected again, probably with COVID, and many of her acute symptoms returned. Her doctor prescribed five days of treatment with Paxlovid.

On day 3, she noticed a rapid improvement in long-term COVID symptoms. “She is back to normal,” said Dr. Linda Geng, co-director of Stanford Health Care’s longtime COVID clinic and author of the case study published in Research Square.

In another case, Lavanya Visvabharathy, 37, an immunologist working at the long-term COVID Northwestern Medicine Clinic, was infected in December 2021.

Her first symptoms were mild, but later she experienced chronic fatigue, headaches and sleep disturbances for four months after infection. She also continued to test positive for rapid antigen tests, a sign of viral persistence.

Aware of the NIH investigation and the Stanford case, Visvabharathy decided to test Paxlovid to see if it could clear up any chronic virus. By the end of the five-day course, her fatigue and insomnia had improved and her headache was less frequent. Two weeks after the end of treatment, her fatigue disappeared. “It’s 100% fixed,” she said.

But to prove that Paxlovid provides such relief would require carefully controlled clinical trials, Visvabharathy said.

Dr. Igor Koralnik, director of the Northwestern Medicine Clinic, which focuses on the neurological effects of chronic COVID, noted a long list of widely used drugs that are affected by ritonavir and said Paxlovid “can not be used intentionally.”

“Paxlovid is not a benign drug,” he said. “There should be research.”

The case for testing Paxlovid from Pfizer to treat long COVID – SABC News

Source link The case for testing Paxlovid from Pfizer to treat long COVID – SABC News

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