CINCINNATI — Nearly 60% of Ohioans are fully vaccinated, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
In early 2022, the Federal Drug Administration approved Paxlovid for emergency use only. It’s a pill to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and children 12 and older.
“It really doesn’t matter whether the virus has variant or not because the medication is targeting a very important process in the virus’s replication cycle,” said Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum.
Fichtenbaum is an infectious and disease physician and professor at the University of Cincinnati and UC Health. He said he became a doctor decades ago to help people.
“It was the original real pandemic that occurred for HIV that got me very interested in infectious diseases back in the 1980s,” he said.
Through his research on COVID-19, he found that the younger and healthier people have an easier time in fighting off the virus. That’s why he said Paxlovid may be better for older adults whose immune systems aren’t as strong.
“What we know is from the studies that we're done on this medication is it prevents people from being hospitalized and lowers the chances for people dying from COVID,” he said.
But he said the medication isn't for everyone.
“You have to have to make sure that there are no other medications you’re taking where there might be an important drug interaction that could occur and you have to have pretty good functioning kidneys when you take this,” he said.
If someone contracts COVID-19, Fichtenbaum recommends consulting a doctor first for the prescription. He said it’s best to take it within the first few days of contracting the virus.
“Beyond that time period it may not be as effective and it’s not for people who are necessarily in the hospital,” he said. “It’s really for people early on in the disease.”