What is Paxlovid, the antiviral COVID treatment Biden took before his ‘rebound’ infection?


President Biden again tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, marking the seventh day of his “rebound” infection. While White House physician Kevin O’Connor said Biden “continues to feel very well,” Biden must remain in quarantine until he tests negative again.

The president first tested positive for COVID on July 21 and experienced mild symptoms. He took the five-day course of Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid and soon tested negative for the virus, which allowed him to leave isolation. But about three days later, he tested positive again.

Doctors say Biden suffers from a so-called “rebound” infection seen in a small percentage of people taking Paxlovid — which was — to treat COVID.

What is Paxloved?

Paxlovid is an antiviral drug used to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and children 12 years and older who weigh at least 88 pounds. Paxlovid is given in three tablets, consisting of two medicines: two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir. The tablets are “taken orally twice daily for five days, for a total of 30 tablets.”

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A doctor holds a package of the antiviral drug Paxlovid.  upwards

A doctor holds up a package of the antiviral drug Paxlovid, which President Biden took for treatment after he tested positive for COVID-19 last month. (Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters)

O’Connor said Biden’s cough has “almost completely resolved” and he is still feeling very well despite his rebound COVID-19 infection.

Why did the rebound occur?

In a last week said Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Covid-19 coordinator, “treatments like Paxlovid are designed to prevent serious illness. And they do it. Very well.”

He goes on to explain that in a Paxlovid rebound, “You get infected — get better (symptoms get better, antigen test negative) — then get worse. It could be new symptoms. Or it could test positive again — as the president has said.” done.”

How common is rebound?

Jha said that according to data his team has tracked from health systems, Paxlovid’s rebounds range “from 0.5% to 10%.”

The White House coordinator said it’s “important” to pay attention to rebound cases “because when you bounce back, you could potentially be contagious.” However, he added that recurrent Paxlovid cases “do not appear to lead to serious illness (i.e. hospitalization, etc.) and that’s key.”

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Biden speaks at the White House

Biden can be seen here speaking from a safe distance at the White House on Friday. (Evan Vucci/Pool/Reuters)

dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said last week: “If you look at the studies, [rebound] is not very common in general.”

Fauci said he also experienced a COVID rebound — with symptoms including a sore throat, runny nose and fever — after taking Paxlovid in June.

What Are Biden’s Rebound Symptoms?

When he first tested positive on his rebound, Biden experienced no new symptoms, according to White House officials, who said he “tested positive on a routine test.”

This week, O’Connor said Biden “still had the occasional cough,” but by Friday it was almost gone.

Biden’s “temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation remain completely normal,” the White House physician said. “His lungs stay clean.”

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In his Twitter thread, Jha said that because Biden is president, his continued testing after recovery is “unusual” and “not what most Americans do.”

“We don’t know how often that happens. where someone, [who takes Paxlovid] or no Pax, becomes positive again after testing negative. Because we don’t have many people testing after recovery. But we know from the clinical studies that it happens’, for people who do and don’t use Paxlovid.

Who Is Eligible For Paxlovid And Should You Take It?

dr. Ghazala Sharieff, chief medical officer of acute care at Scripps Health, . Those who qualify must test positive and have experienced symptoms within five days or less, and are also at a higher risk of developing severe COVID symptoms.

Jha said people at higher risk, such as those over age 50 or who have chronic illnesses, should get Paxlovid because “it will dramatically reduce your risk of hospitalization or death.”

Jha said the “bottom line” is that “Paxlovid is saving lives. Therapeutics are an essential part of fighting this pandemic. And far too many Americans are still dying from COVID. And when it comes to treatments like Paxlovid and monoclonals, we use more of it, not less.”


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