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Britain to make Pfizer COVID-19 pill available starting in February

Great Britain will begin its rollout of Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 pill in February, the United Kingdom Department of Health and Social Care announced Friday.

The antiviral will be available to those with “weakened immune systems” beginning on Feb. 10. The United Kingdom has procured 4.98 million courses of the antivirals and 2.23 courses of molnupiravir specifically.

“It is fantastic news that this new treatment, the latest cutting-edge drug that the NHS is rolling out through new COVID-19 medicine delivery units, will now be available to help those at highest risk of COVID-19,” said National Health Service National Medical Director professor Stephen Powis.

The department reported that clinical trials showed an 88 percent decrease in hospitalization or death when a person was treated with the antiviral.

Antiviral medication is already available to the highest risk COVID-19 patients, and almost 10,000 patients have been treated thus far.

“Our pharmaceutical defences are crucial as we learn to live with COVID-19,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid. “And the UK is leading the way, especially when it comes to the use of cutting-edge antivirals.”

The Pfizer pill was conditionally approved Thursday by the European Medicines Agency for use among high-risk patients in the European Union. It was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month.

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