Global Health Asia-Pacific Issue 2 | 2023 | Page 42

Medical Tourism Ne�s

“ Our study suggests Paxlovid is an effective weapon against COVID-19 ’ s potential for debilitating and lifethreatening effects on the body .”

Antiviral drug may prevent long COVID

Pill is already prescribed to reduce chances of developing severe COVID

The drug Paxlovid used to treat early COVI�-1� infection has shown promise in cutting the risk for the long-term health problems associated with it , according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine .

Commonly known as long COVI� , the poorly understood condition can lead to hundreds of different symptoms including extreme fatigue , shortness of breath , and cognitive dysfunction in 10 to 20 percent of those infected with COVI�-1� . These can be so debilitating that people struggle to work or go about their daily business .
Researchers sifted through the data of 2�6,076 people with COVI�-1� who either had not been prescribed Paxlovid ( or other drugs ) or had received it within five days of testing positive for the virus , as recommended by the guidelines . The analysis suggested that Paxlovid cut the risk of developing long COVI� by 26 percent over the following six months while also reducing the risk of death by �7 percent and hospitalisation by 2� percent .
��ong COVI�-1� has become an urgent public health problem that poses wide-ranging concerns — from decreased life expectancy rates , to burdened health-care and employment systems , to weakened economies on local levels , in the � . S . and abroad , � senior author �r �iyad Al-Aly , a Washington �niversity clinical epidemiologist and an expert in the longterm effects of COVI�-1� , said in a press release . �Our study suggests Paxlovid is an effective weapon against COVI�-1� ’ s potential for debilitating and lifethreatening effects on the body . �
Such positive effects have been observed in those who are both unvaccinated and vaccinated against COVI�-1� . The same goes for people who recovered from COVI�-1� and were subsequently reinfected one or more times .
Paxlovid has been approved for mild or moderate COVI�-1� cases that are at risk of progressing to a more severe stage , such as people older than �� or those older than 11 with serious conditions like heart , kidney , and lung diseases , as well as diabetes and cancer . It works by preventing the virus from replicating , thus limiting its presence in the body .
�All hypotheses of long COVI� point to SARS-CoV-2 as the initiating agent , � �r Al-Aly said . �Our research reinforces such theories . It stands to reason that an antiviral drug — one that suppresses viral replication — may reduce the risk of long COVI� .
“ This gives me hope that antivirals may hold the key to preventing long COVI�-1� , � he added . �More research is needed to determine whether antiviral drugs other than Paxlovid are also effective at preventing long COVI� . �
Though the prognosis of patients with long COVI� has significantly improved since the pandemic broke out , with most patients able to recover after undergoing rehab programmes for three to 12 months , there ’ s still a minority who will need more time to recover and , if other similar post-viral conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome are any indication , some might have to struggle with long COVI� for years without a definitive cure on the hori�on .
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