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COVID-19 Symptoms Rebound After Pfizer's COVID-19 Therapy, What Could Be The Reason?

By Vandana Singh

Some patients have reported that COVID-19 symptoms recurred after completing treatment and experiencing improvement after Pfizer Inc's (NYSE:PFE) COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid. 

Pfizer said that from more than 300,000 patients the company is monitoring who received the 5-day treatment, around 1-in-3,000 - about 0.03% - reported a relapse after taking the pills, Reuters reported

This is a lower rate than about 2% of participants who experienced a rebound in viral levels after treatment.

The Pfizer trial suggested relapses may be a broader COVID trend as a similar number of those who had received a placebo also had a rebound in viral load levels.

Related: FDA Berates Pfizer CEO's Suggestion To Take More Paxlovid If COVID-19 Symptoms Rebound.

The cause is not yet known. Some doctors suggest that because the drug attacks the virus so quickly, some patients' immune responses to COVID may be muted, allowing the virus to replicate again. 

Others have said there may be a not yet identified common characteristic among those who suffer a rebound. The FDA has also said it is unclear whether rebounds are related to Paxlovid.

Pfizer Chief Development Officer William Pao said it might be related to the virus itself, not Paxlovid since the phenomenon was found among patients who got the drug and those who did not.

The agency also stressed that the rebounds do not change Paxlovid's ability to reduce hospitalization and death.

Price Action: PFE shares closed down by 0.08% at $49.45 on Wednesday.

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Dive Deeper:
Commentary: The US is doing too little to monitor Paxlovid use
Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral treatment for COVID-19, is turning out to be one of the most successful new drugs in pharma…
Rare cases of COVID returning pose questions for Pfizer pill
A small number of COVID-19 patients are relapsing after taking Pfizer's antiviral pill, raising questions about the drug at the…
The Promising Treatment for Long COVID We’re Not Even Trying
Early anecdotes about Paxlovid’s effects on long COVID are intriguing, but no one’s testing them in clinical trials yet.
3 ways to get COVID pills, if you've just tested positive
Some people have had trouble getting Paxlovid pills quickly, despite the administration's effort to ease access after a COVID test…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
High-risk COVID-19 patients can now get two antiviral prescription drugs — but some are still missing out
For Australians at high risk of developing severe COVID-19, getting access to potentially lifesaving treatments recently became easier — but…
Severe Covid-19 can dramatically age your brain — study
A severe case of Covid-19 can be the equivalent of aging 20 years.
Get all your news in one place