The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday granted emergency authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pill, making it the first authorized oral antiviral drug for the disease.
The drug provides a new tool against the virus, and it comes at a time when the world is on high alert following the emergence of the new Omicron variant.
The drug, Paxlovid, is seen as a faster and cheaper way to treat early COVID-19 infections.
According to CNBC, the U.S. has purchased 10 million courses of the drug in a $5 billion deal, following up on a pledge President Joe Biden made in November that his administration was working to make treatments free and accessible.
Pfizer says it’s on track to produce 80 million courses globally next year, under contracts with the U.K., Australia and other nations.