Recently Approved Antiviral Pills Now Available For High Risk COVID Patients In New Jersey – CBS New York
TRENTON, NJ (CBSNewYork) – Two recently approved antiviral pills are now available to some high-risk COVID-19 patients in New Jersey along with other preventive therapies.
It has been described as the Omicron tsunami. The number of patients in the intensive care unit and on ventilators is as high as in May 2020.
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Two recently approved oral antiviral pills are now available in the state by prescription for high-risk COVID patients.
Dr. David Adinaro of the New Jersey Department of Health told CBS2’s Meg Baker that these therapeutics could ease the burden on the health system.
“PAXLOVID and molnupiravir,” he said. “People who are COVID positive within five days, who have significant risks with regard to underlying diseases, chronic illnesses and similar things, receive a prescription and it is an oral medicine. So it’s a pill and you’d take it for five days. “
The therapeutics can help stop the disease from spreading.
The antiviral pills were shipped to 50 Walgreens locations in New Jersey.
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Dr. Richard Barakat of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute in New York says these antiviral drugs, in addition to a new monoclonal preventive drug, an injectable drug that is given every six months, could save the lives of people with compromised immune systems like cancer patients, especially those with leukemia and Lymphoma.
“It’s really not being done to treat COVID-19, but it is really being given to prevent patients at higher risk from getting COVID infection, and especially those who are immunocompromised for various reasons. We know that these patients have a tendency not to make good antibody responses to vaccines. So this is a way to ensure that these patients are protected as much as possible from contracting COVID-19, ”he said.
Dr. Perry Halkitis of the Rutgers School of Public Health warns that prevention should still be prioritized over antiviral therapeutics.
“Therapeutics require you to interact with your doctor and it requires you to have health care coverage that covers these therapeutics. It requires you to go to the pharmacy to get the therapeutics, ”said Halkitis.
New Jersey has received 6,000 doses of antiviral drugs from the federal government.
It is at the clinician’s discretion to determine whether high-risk patients are eligible for these therapeutics.
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Meg Baker of CBS2 contributed to this report.