Positive test? Texas task force doctor talks COVID treatment options for 2022

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — New for 2022, a different slate of treatment options for COVID-19.

KXAN checked in with a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 task force on Monday to discuss Pfizer and Merck’s recently approved pill form treatments, along with other potential life-saving medicines in the pipeline.

U.S. regulators authorized Pfizer’s pill, Paxlovid, and Merck’s molnupiravir last week. The White House announced it had ordered 10-million treatment courses of Pfizer’s drug cocktail with some set to be distributed beginning next month.

Though the pills could come with a catch for those already on some medications, Infectious disease specialist Dr. Ogechika Alozie called the pills a “great” option.

“You can simply call a physician, go to a doctor’s office, and get a prescription to take a pill for five days,” he said.

The treatments are not authorized for those younger than 18, and Dr. Alozie reminded not every adult who tests positive will be eligible.

“The treatments depend on your risk,” Alozie told KXAN. “If you’re vaccinated [and boosted], the reality is you probably don’t need any of these things. If, however, you’re older, or obese, have other medical conditions like cancer, have uncontrolled diabetes, you really have to have a serious conversation with your physician about what’s the best way to go.”

As for the current treatments available, such as monoclonal antibody infusions, the doctor said most of the infusions available do not work against the omicron variant.

“And the one that does is in short supply,” he said.

As for what else may be on the horizon, Alozie said work continues on pan-genotypic vaccines, or vaccines that work against all genotypes of the virus.

“That’s little bit down the line,” the doctor said. “Again, I think it’s important to remind the viewers that the vaccines that we have [right now] work to protect against hospitalizations.”

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