WASHINGTON (AP) — Pfizer says that its experimental COVID-19 pill appears effective against the omicron variant.
The company also confirmed Tuesday that the pill delivered on promising early results in reducing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
The updates come as U.S. regulators are expected to soon decide on whether to authorize Pfizer's pill and a competing drug from Merck.
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If authorized, the pills would be the first COVID-19 drugs that Americans could take at home to treat the virus.
Pfizer is seeking U.S. authorization for high-risk adults but is also studying the drug in lower-risk adults. The company said the drug missed a key study goal in ongoing testing of those patients.
President Joe Biden called Pfizer’s drug “another potentially powerful tool in our fight against the virus,” in a statement Tuesday.
The U.S. government has agreed to purchase enough of Pfizer’s drug to treat 10 million people. But company executives have indicated that initial supplies will be limited, with only enough to treat tens of thousands of people before the end of the year.
By March Pfizer hopes to ramp up production to provide millions of courses of treatment.