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US FDA approves world’s 1st oral antiviral for COVID-19


  • Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir tablets) is manufactured by US pharma major Pfizer.
  • It is the fourth drug — and first oral antiviral pill — approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19 in adults.
  • So far, Paxlovid was being sold under emergency use authorisation (EUA) in the US.
  • With the pandemic now in its endemic stage, oral treatments, or pills, are believed to be a potential game changer for mild to moderate infections. 
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SARS-CoV-2 Virus:

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious viral illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). 
  • SARS-CoV-2 is a novel beta coronavirus belonging to the same subgenus as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
    • It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and then caused a global pandemic leading to the disease COVID-19.
  • Coronaviruses (CoVs) are positive-stranded RNA viruses with a crown-like appearance due to the presence of spike glycoproteins on the envelope.
  • Like other RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2, while adapting to their new human hosts, is prone to genetic evolution with the development of mutations over time, resulting in mutant variants that may have different characteristics than its ancestral strains.
  • Although the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is currently unknown, it is widely postulated to have originated from an animal, implicating a zoonotic transmission. 

Transmission: Via exposure to respiratory droplets carrying the infectious virus from close contact or droplet transmission from presymptomatic, asymptomatic, or symptomatic individuals harbouring the virus. 

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