The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday authorized Merck’s Covid pill for high-risk adults, a day after a similar pill by Pfizer was given the green light.
Today’s authorization provides an additional treatment option against the Covid-19 virus in the form of a Covid pill that can be taken orally, said FDA scientist Patrizia Cavazzoni.
Meanwhile, a third dose of AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine, named Covishield in India, produces similar neutralising antibody levels against Omicron as after two doses against the Delta variant, according to a new study led by the Oxford University who developed the vaccine.
The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study showed that the levels of neutralisation titres for Omicron seen after the third dose booster were higher than the neutralising antibodies found in individuals who had been previously infected with and recovered naturally from Covid-19 Alpha, Beta, Delta variants and original strain.
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Sera obtained from individuals one month after receiving the third dose booster vaccination neutralized the Omicron variant to levels that were broadly similar to those observed one month after the second dose against the Delta variant.
The study analysed blood samples taken from individuals infected with Covid-19; those who had been vaccinated with a two-dose schedule and a third dose booster; and those who had reported previous infection from other Covid-19 variants of concern.
The drugmaker said researchers at Oxford University who carried out the study were independent from those who worked on developing the vaccine with AstraZeneca.