Pfizer, UNICEF to supply Paxlovid COVID-19 oral treatment for low-, middle-income countries

March 23, 2022
Pfizer, UNICEF to supply Paxlovid COVID-19 oral treatment

Pfizer Inc. (Pfizer) has announced an agreement with UNICEF to supply nearly 4 million treatment courses of its COVID-19 oral treatment to 95 low- and middle-income countries. The COVID-19 oral treatment, Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets), will be given to all low-income and lower-middle-income countries and some upper-middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Countries that have transitioned from lower-middle to upper-middle-income status in the last five years will be included as well.

Pfizer expects supply to be available to support orders as early as April 2022 – supply will continue throughout 2022, pending regulatory authorisation or approval and according to country needs.

Paxlovid is an orally administered SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitor. It is prescribed at the first sign of infection or at first awareness of an exposure and so potentially helps patients avoid severe illness which can lead to hospitalisation and death) or avoid disease development following contact with a COVID-19-positive household member.

Paxlovid is to be administered at a dose of 300 mg (two 150 mg tablets) of nirmatrelvir with one 100 mg tablet of ritonavir, given twice daily for five days. One treatment carton contains five blister packs of Paxlovid, as co-packaged nirmatrelvir tablets with ritonavir tablets, providing all required doses for a full five-day treatment course.

Nirmatrelvir [PF-07321332] is designed to inhibit or block the activity of an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate. Co-administration with a low dose of ritonavir helps slow the metabolism, or breakdown, of nirmatrelvir so it can remain active in the body for longer periods of time. Nirmatrelvir is safe and has shown consistent in vitro antiviral activity against earlier and current coronavirus variants of concern in preclinical studies.

“We have seen the negative impacts of COVID-19 in every part of the world and know that we must work towards access for all people regardless of where they live or their circumstances,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO, Pfizer. “Supplying to UNICEF is an important part of our comprehensive strategy to accelerate access to Paxlovid to treat COVID-19 infection as quickly as possible and at an affordable price in order to decrease the strain on healthcare systems and help save lives in low- and middle-income countries.”

*Pfizer will offer its oral therapy through a tiered pricing approach, pending country authorisation or approval, based on the income level of each country to promote equity of access across the globe. High and upper-middle income countries will pay more than lower income countries.

Read: FDA approves booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for US citizens

Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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