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A new study has found that the COVID antiviral Paxlovid can interact badly with certain heart medications, raising concerns for patients with cardiovascular risk who test positive.
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and found the reaction involved such medications as blood thinners and statins. As patients who are hospitalised with COVID are at elevated risk of heart problems, they are likely to be described as Paxlovid, which was developed by Pfizer PFE, -0.28%.
“Co-administration of NMVr (Paxlovid) with medications commonly used to manage cardiovascular conditions can potentially cause significant drug-drug interactions and may lead to severe adverse effects,” the authors wrote. “It is crucial to be aware of such interactions and take appropriate measures to avoid them.”
The news comes just days after the White House made a renewed push to encourage Americans above the age of 50 to take Paxlovid or use monoclonal antibodies if they test positive and are at risk of developing severe disease.
White House coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told the New York Times that greater use of the medicine could reduce the average daily death count to about 50 a day from close to 400 currently.
“I think almost everybody benefits from Paxlovid,” Jha said. “For some people, the benefit is tiny. For others, the benefit is massive.”
Yet a smaller share of 80-year-olds with COVID in the U.S. is taking it than 45-year-olds, Jha said, citing data he has seen.
On Thursday, the White House extended its COVID public health emergency through Jan. 11 as it prepares for an expected rise in cases in the colder months, the Associated Press reported.
The public health emergency, first declared in January 2020 and renewed every 90 days since, has dramatically changed how health services are delivered.
The declaration enabled the emergency authorisation of COVID vaccines, as well as free testing and treatments. It expanded Medicaid coverage to millions of people, many of whom will risk losing that coverage once the emergency ends. It temporarily opened up telehealth access for Medicare recipients, enabling doctors to collect the same rates for those visits and encouraging health networks to adopt telehealth technology.
Separately, the head of the World Health Organisation urged countries to continue to survey, monitor and track COVID and to ensure poorer countries get access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatments, reiterating that the pandemic is not yet over.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said most countries no longer have measures in place to limit the spread of the virus, even though cases are rising again in places including Europe.
“Most countries have reduced surveillance drastically, while testing and sequencing rates are also much lower,” Tedros said in opening remarks at the IHR Emergency Committee on COVID-19 Pandemic on Thursday.
“This,” said the WHO leader, “is blinding us to the evolution of the virus and the impact of current and future variants.” (extracted and edited from MarketWatch)