China approves Pfizer Covid pill

China approves Pfizer Covid pill

Emergency authorisation the first by Beijing for a foreign coronavirus treatment

A box of Paxlovid pills for treating Covid-19 is seen at Misericordia hospital in Grosseto, Italy. (Reuters Photo)
A box of Paxlovid pills for treating Covid-19 is seen at Misericordia hospital in Grosseto, Italy. (Reuters Photo)

China has granted emergency approval for a Pfizer Covid-19 pill in a promising sign that the country could open up further to foreign vaccines and treatments for the virus.

The import registration for Paxlovid was approved on Friday, the National Medical Products Administration said in a statement on its website on Saturday. The Chinese regulator requires relevant research work to continue to be carried out, with conditional requirements completed within a time limit, and the follow-up research results submitted in a timely manner, according to the statement.

The emergency approval is the first that China has given to a drug or vaccine developed by a foreign country for Covid-19. The mRNA Covid vaccine co-developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, for which Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group holds the rights to distribute in Greater China, has not yet been approved in the country. 

China’s homegrown efforts to develop Covid antivirals have largely lagged those of the West, with the most advanced still in the final stage of trials at sites outside of the country. Such treatments could be critical to help China move away from its zero-Covid approach to managing the virus.  

After containing the virus with mass testing, surveillance and rigid border curbs, China is now uniquely vulnerable to the pathogen as it has little natural protection from prior infections. The country’s vaccination campaign has also relied on homegrown inactivated inoculations that have been less effective at blocking infections than the highly potent mRNA shots that are widely used elsewhere. 

In December, China approved a homegrown antibody therapy that needs to be administered through intravenous injections at hospitals. The two treatments co-developed by Brii Biosciences were approved for use on adults and teenage patients in mild to moderate cases.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (4)

Two Pattaya pubs face closure after raids

CHON BURI: Two pubs in Pattaya were found operating without permits and opening beyond the 2am closing time in separate raids by teams of police and administrative officials early on Sunday.

11:14

Chadchart's approval rating high after six months in office: Nida Poll

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt's approval rating is high after six months in office, according to the result of a survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

10:34

No mere rub-down

Thailand has earned the reputation of being a destination for a body rejuvenation, a label reinforced at the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit which helped spread the word about the healing wonders of Thai traditional massage, or nuad Thai.

07:33