Plans for the first test of whether Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill known as Paxlovid can alleviate Long Covid were unveiled last week, as organizers said they expect to begin recruiting 1700 volunteers in January 2023. Patient groups and researchers have long sought such a trial to study whether suppressing the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can reduce Long COVID’s debilitating symptoms, such as fatigue and brain fog. Participants will take either Paxlovid (a combination of the antivirals nirmatrelvir and ritonavir) or a placebo for 15 days. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the drug in December 2021 for people at high risk of severe illness from acute COVID-19. Paxlovid knocks back virus that’s rapidly replicating.
Lalita Panicker is consulting editor, views, Hindustan Times, New Delhi