WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Pfizer announced Tuesday that trial results of its new COVID-19 pill are showing solid success at stopping hospitalizations and death.
Dr. Joanna Drowos of Florida Atlantic University said she is encouraged by the findings.
"I think it's really exciting," Drowos said.
Pfizer announced that the experimental pill in a final analysis of clinical trials was 89 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID.
Drowos said the results look promising.
The study showed that Pfizer's pill was proven effective in high-risk patients, particularly the unvaccinated.
It's most effective if given within three to five days of the onset of COVID symptoms, and it's likely effective on both the delta and omicron variants of COVID.
"For individuals who aren't vaccinated or can't get vaccinated for whatever reason, anything we can do to keep them out of hospitals and from getting seriously ill is an advantage and a tool for us," Drowos said.
Another key point from the study found that the pill could reduce transmission.
"[The pill] lowered viral load in the individuals who took it, so there is the potential that it could actually lower transmission risk," Drowos said.
With a segment of the population still opposed to the vaccine, the Pfizer pill could play a big role in the pandemic by offering an at-home remedy.
Current injections of monoclonal antibody treatments are only available at state-sponsored clinics.
Approval of the new pill from the FDA could be weeks away. Many doctors insist that while the pill looks promising, getting vaccinated is still the best protection from the virus.
"People say that they don't want an experimental vaccine, but these medications are all very new and very experimental," Drowos said. "I don't know when we started to be so mistrustful of (vaccines). If I were given the choice of a vaccine or monoclonal antibodies or a pill like this, to me the vaccine is the clear winner."