A new study by Stanford Medicine has cast doubt on the ability of Pfizer’s antiviral treatment Paxlovid to alleviate symptoms of long COVID. The research, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Internal Medicine, found that a 15-day regimen of the drug did not improve long COVID symptoms in patients who had been experiencing the condition for over a year.

Paxlovid, currently used to prevent severe illness in people with acute COVID-19 infections, has been a key weapon in the fight against the pandemic. However, this study suggests it may not be helpful for those struggling with the long-term effects of the virus.

The Stanford study involved 155 patients who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at least 16 months prior to enrollment. All participants reported experiencing moderate-to-severe cases of at least two common long COVID symptoms, such as shortness of breath, brain fog, fatigue, and body aches.

Researchers divided the participants into two groups. One group received a 15-day course of Paxlovid, while the other received a placebo. After the treatment period, the researchers compared the two groups and found no significant difference in the severity of long COVID symptoms.

While the study’s main finding is a setback for those hoping Paxlovid could offer relief to long COVID sufferers, there is a positive takeaway. The extended 15-day regimen of the drug was well-tolerated by patients, with no major safety concerns identified. This is important information as researchers continue to explore potential treatment options for long COVID.

The study was funded by Pfizer, the manufacturer of Paxlovid. The findings add to the ongoing research into long COVID, a complex condition that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life for months or even years after the initial infection. With millions of people worldwide grappling with long COVID, the search for effective treatments remains a high priority.

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