Speed Reads

Pfizer back at it again

Pfizer has applied for emergency authorization of its COVID pill, and the White House is reportedly ready to buy

Pfizer on Tuesday officially submitted an application with the FDA for emergency use authorization of its COVID treatment pill, 10 million courses of which are to be purchased by the Biden administration, CNBC and The Washington Post report.

The White House is expected to announce the "multibillion-dollar investment" this week, which officials "hope will help change the trajectory of the pandemic by staving off many hospitalizations and deaths," says the Post. If authorized by the FDA, the Pfizer drug has the potential to "revolutionize the fight against COVID" by allowing high-risk individuals to treat themselves at home rather than in a hospital, writes CNBC. When taken alongside a common HIV drug and within three days of the onset of symptoms, the pill reduces hospitalization and death by 89 percent, Pfizer said.

U.S. officials view both the Pfizer antiviral drug and the one developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics as pivotal in restoring a sense of normalcy to the country, writes the Post. Pfizer has already begun manufacturing its pill, while U.K. drug regulators recently authorized the Merck treatment for use. The Merck review process in the U.S. is currently underway, and the government already committed to buying 3.1 million courses, per the Post.

According to The New York Times, both the Pfizer and Merck treatments are meant for high-risk, unvaccinated individuals, and are "are geared toward older people or people who have obesity or medical conditions that put them at elevated risk" of severe COVID.

"We are moving as quickly as possible in our effort to get this potential treatment into the hands of patients," said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Tuesday, "and we look forward to working with the U.S. FDA on its review of our application, along with other regulatory agencies around the world."