Local health official weighs in as Pfizer seeks emergency approval of Covid-19 pill

If authorized by the FDA, Bergner says it could help to reduce deaths and the strain on hospitals. 

NEOSHO, Mo.–On Tuesday, Pfizer submitted its application to the FDA for the emergency approval of their Covid-19 treatment pill.

Larry Bergner with the Newton County Health Department says he’s hopeful after hearing that there could soon be another way to treat Covid-19.

If authorized by the FDA, Bergner says it could help to reduce deaths and the strain on hospitals. 

“It will free up those medical professionals because they can prescribe the pill, send the patient home…so the medicine and the pill attaches to an enzyme in the virus and prevents it from replicating in the body. so you’re basically shutting the virus off just as it’s trying to get a hold in the body,” Bergner said.

He added that this could help those infected see less severe illnesses, to avoid overwhelming hospital staff, especially as Covid-19 numbers continue to fluctuate in the county.

“In newton county, for example, we saw a surge in the summer like everybody did, and every week to week, you see this kind of bump. We have maybe one several days of five or four new cases this week. We’ve seen 15 new cases both yesterday and today, which isn’t horrible, but is certainly a bump from where we were last week.”

According to Bergner, there are currently 64 active cases in Newton County. 

“When we get a bump in those cases and those folks now will have the opportunity to take a pill, that it’ll be a positive outcome for everybody…I think we’ll get more confidence in the public rather than trying some therapies that are not proven. they’ll have the confidence to come to a therapy that has a proven track record with trials and testing and the approval of the FDA and CDC.

Bergner says he’s hopeful with these new treatments awaiting approval in addition to widely available vaccines, we could see fewer virus-related deaths and illnesses. 

“So rather than go and sit in a clinical setting and get an IV in the arm, now you can just go home whether the package of a five day supply of pills and take that regimen. So I think it’s going to cause a lot of positive impacts in the community.”

According to Pfizer’s website, this new pill would be the first oral antiviral of its kind.