The Paxlovid treatment was approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) yesterday. The medicine Pfizer inhibits an enzyme that is necessary for viral replication to stop the virus from multiplying so that the body can fight it.

The government has now provided 2.75 million courses of treatment for 2022. Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said the UK is among the first countries in the world to give the drug the green light.

He added: “We are also leading all of Europe in the number of antivirals we have purchased per person.

Paxlovid comes as two tablets taken together, twice a day, for five days.

It is approved for those over 18 with mild to moderate Covid who have at least one risk factor that increases their chances of serious illness – this includes obesity, over the age of 60 , diabetes and heart disease.

In one trial, Paxlovid reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% within 28 days when treatment was started within three days of onset of symptoms.

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