Last Thursday, President Biden, who had previously received 4 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, tested positive with Covid-19. The Omicron BA5 sub-variant that is responsible for evading vaccine immunity and comprises approximately 82% of Covid-19 cases in the USA was discovered in the U.S. president’s lab panel. Health experts speculate that President Biden likely picked up the virus on his international trip to the Middle East.

On Monday morning, Whitehouse Physician, Dr. Kevin Connor, informed the public that President Biden had been put on Paxlovid, an anti-viral medication that prevents high risk patients with other comorbidities from becoming dangerously sick. 

In December 2021, the FDA authorized Paxlovid to treat Covid-19 in adults and children that weigh at least 88 pounds. The medication was reserved for people that tested positive for Covid-19, had at least one risk factor such as obesity, diabetes, asthma and being over the age of 65 years.  The key pre-requisite for the Paxlovid treatment is that it be started within 5 days of Covid-19 symptom onset. 

Paxlovid, manufactured by Pfizer is a game changing medication in the fight against Covid-19 as the world emerges from lockdowns and extended hospitalizations.

According to a read-out from Pfizer’s website, Paxlovid is a combination of three tablets, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. Nirmatrelvir is a novel anti-viral that has shown statistically significant activity against the Covid-19 virus in clinical trials. Whereas ritonavir is an older anti-viral that boosts the effectiveness of nirmatrelvir.

As a result of the highly effective Paxlovid regimen, coupled with usual precautions, President Biden’s Covid-19 symptoms resolved after 4 days of treatment. 

President Biden tested negative for Covid-19 after his treatment, and he has resumed his normal duties. 

Commenting on the efficacy of the Paxlovid treatment and the President’s speedy recovery, White House Covid Response coordinator Ashish Jha estimates that 5% of people have a Covid-19 symptom rebound or re-test as positive with Covid-19 after they stop their Paxlovid treatment.

 Most recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy, and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) got treated with Paxlovid in June 2022. Fauci finished the treatment and tested negative but three days upon completing his treatment, his symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat and fever resurfaced. Fauci was re-started on a second regimen of Paxlovid which resolved his condition. 

Pfizer’s clinical research trial data on Paxlovid reported that 1-2% of patient had a rebound effect. However, some disease experts such as Dr. Peter Gulick, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Michigan State University argue that the rebound could be a result of the patient’s natural immunity not kicking in fast enough given the 5-day treatment. 

Upon his full recovery, the US President as of Wednesday has resumed his public duties and the White House is monitoring his health. 

Paxlovid significantly reduces Covid-19 health risks for patients compared to last year. The medication is a game-changer in the fight against Covid-19. The medication is available as a prescription from primary care physicians and dispensed through local pharmacies.

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