New York State Health Dept. Warns Not Enough Paxlovid or Molnupiravir Antibody Treatment

New York State Health Dept. Warns Not Enough Paxlovid or Molnupiravir Antibody Treatment
An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters on October 26, 2021. (Merck & Co Inc/Handout via Reuters)

The New York State Health Department has warned that it does not have enough Paxlovid or Molnupiravir antibody treatment and authorized those of non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, as well as individuals with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe illness, to receive the treatment.

However, the government body made no mention of whether or not other race categories should apply to receive the drugs.

In a notification (pdf) issued on Dec. 27, the department warned there is currently a shortage of Paxlovid, a Pfizer oral COVID-19 antiviral pill, which has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Paxlovid is taken twice per day for five days in combination with a second medicine called ritonavir, a generic antiviral drug. The drug is aimed to help patients who are suffering from “mild-to-moderate” COVID-19 symptoms from becoming so sick that they need to be hospitalized, Pfizer has said.

Stocks of Molnupiravir antibody treatment, a drug from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, are also going to be limited until more of the product becomes available, officials said, while urging providers to prioritize treatment for patients at high risk for severe COVID-19.

Merck’s antiviral Molnupiravir pill was granted FDA emergency use authorization last week. Similar to Paxlovid, the drug is intended for use at home by adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing severe disease. It is taken orally in pill form, twice a day for five days, within five days of symptoms onset.

In Wednesday’s notification, The New York Department of Health stated that patients who are 12 or older weighing at least 88 pounds are eligible to receive the oral antiviral treatment, while those who are 18 years and older can have Molnupiravir.

Patients must also test positive for SARS-CoV-2 on a nucleic acid amplification test or antigen test, while results from an FDA-authorized home-test kit should be validated through video or photo but if the latter is not possible then “patient attestation is adequate.”

They must also display mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms and be able to start treatment within five days of the onset of symptoms, have a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe illness, while “non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.”

The notification did not mention whether other races including white Americans, African Americans, or Asian Americans should apply to receive the drug.

The Epoch Times has contacted the New York State Health Department for comment.

The Biden administration has already purchased some 10 million courses of Paxlovid in a more than $5 billion agreement and has agreed to buy 3.1 million courses of the Merck antiviral drug for about $2.2 billion.

From The Epoch Times