Antiviral COVID pills create optimism in fighting omicron, Phoebe says

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Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 7:43 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - You may remember the FDA’s emergency use authorization for Antiviral COVID pills.

According to Phoebe Putney Health System, recent research shows that they may be effective against the omicron variant.

Phoebe officials said research shows they may be more effective than monoclonal antibodies.

This is as hospitalizations are down 25% across Phoebe Putney Health System since last week.

Phoebe officials said before anyone takes a pill, you have to consult your physician first. This is because not everyone can take them.

The FDA does not recommend the Merck pill be used by pregnant women or those who become pregnant while taking the medication.

Children under 18 are also not recommended to take these pills.

Like with monoclonal antibodies, the government is limiting distribution. However, Phoebe’s Dr. James Black is optimistic about the findings about the antiviral pills.

“The antiviral pills are somewhat similar to Tamiflu. The type of medications has been shown to decrease the progressiveness to severe illness and also shorten the length of the illness. So we’re really excited about that,” Black said.

Unfortunately, these pills are not widely available. They are also not as effective as the vaccine, Black pointed out.

“Monoclonal antibodies and antiviral pills are not a substitute for primary prevention in the form of vaccinations,” he said.

Phoebe recommends before anyone takes a pill to consult your physician.

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Black wants everyone to know that the omicron wave is not over just yet and encourages getting vaccinated or boosted.

“A lot of the conversation seems to be that this is not as bad as the other variants, but it is still causing a lot of disease and illness. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing an increase in the amounts of deaths,” Black said.

He says there’s been a slight downtick in ICU admissions but the number of patients on ventilators has still been increasing.

Dr. Charles Ruis, Southwest Health District director, said science is always changing. And unfortunately, the virus is changing too.

One thing, Ruis pointed out, is to try to keep good health regardless of status. This includes exercise and diet.

“Vitamin D, C, and, zinc may prove to be beneficial. They certainly wouldn’t cause any harm that we’re aware of and in fact, might help some,” Black said.

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