The Covid treatment tablets approved for use in the UK should be given to clinically vulnerable people as soon as they test positive.
The drug – Paxlovid – developed by the US company Pfizer cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% in vulnerable adults, clinical trial results suggest.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has previously called the results “incredible”.
The drug, known as a protease inhibitor, is designed to block an enzyme the virus needs in order to multiply. When taken alongside a low dose of another antiviral pill called ritonavir, it stays in the body for longer.
Three pills are taken twice a day for five days.