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Study finds that Pfizer’s Paxlovid is ineffective as a 15-day treatment for long COVID

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A recent study conducted by Stanford University researchers found that Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid did not provide relief for symptoms of long COVID after a 15-day course. Long COVID refers to a condition where individuals experience a range of symptoms for an extended period following an initial coronavirus infection. Despite anecdotal reports suggesting that Paxlovid could help with long COVID symptoms, the study involving 155 participants did not show any significant improvement in fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, body aches, or other symptoms. Participants in the trial had been experiencing symptoms for an average of 16 months before enrolling.

Dr. Upinder Singh, a professor at Stanford Medicine, stated that while the study did not demonstrate a benefit of Paxlovid in relieving long COVID symptoms, further research on the treatment may still be warranted. She suggested that longer courses of the medication or studying its effects on patients who have not been sick for as long could potentially yield different results. Despite the disappointing findings, the study did indicate that Paxlovid is safe to use for 15 days, which is longer than the current 5-day course prescribed for early treatment of COVID-19.

Pfizer, the manufacturer of Paxlovid, has stated that the results of the study will not impact their plans for other collaborative studies on the potential use of Paxlovid for treating long COVID. The medication is currently the most commonly prescribed at-home treatment for COVID-19 in the U.S. and is approved for use in adults who are at risk of severe complications from the illness. In clinical trials, Paxlovid has shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths from COVID by approximately 90% for unvaccinated individuals at risk for serious disease. However, the treatment did not show significant benefits for those considered at standard risk, including vaccinated patients.

The long COVID trial was funded by Pfizer and involved collaboration with researchers from Kaiser Permanente North California. Despite the disappointing results of the study, there is still hope that ongoing research on potential treatments for long COVID will lead to new insights and solutions for this challenging condition. Despite the lack of effectiveness of Paxlovid in this study, it is important to continue exploring various treatment options for individuals experiencing long COVID symptoms to improve their quality of life and overall well-being.

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