Hartford HealthCare receives first shipment of new COVID-19 treatment pill
Hospital officials within the Hartford HealthCare system are touting the effectiveness of a new antiviral pill to fight COVID-19. The hospital system received its first shipment of Paxlovid on Monday night. The pill was developed in part by workers at Pfizer’s Groton-based pharmaceutical facility.
Eric Arlia, Hartford HealthCare’s vice president of pharmacy, said the pill is helpful because it can be taken at home. It may also be more effective in treating the omicron variant than antibody infusions that require time in the hospital.
“It’s an alternative, if you will, to our monoclonal antibodies that are effective against the strain of COVID that we [had] at the time,” Arlia said of the delta variant, which was more responsive to the antibody treatments than the increasingly prevalent omicron variant.
“So, as we shift more into omicron, we’re actually losing two out of three of our monoclonal antibodies,” Arlia explained. “It’s good to have another option to fall back on.”
There are now two antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 that’ve been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.
The second pill is Merck’s Molnupiravir. Arlia told reporters on Tuesday that Merck’s pill isn’t yet available to network hospitals and that Paxlovid is “superior.”