AU studying pill to prevent severe cases in COVID patients

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 11:20 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - You’ve heard about the anti-COVID pill developed by Merck? Well, doctors at Augusta University have also been studying a pill for the past year, one that could help prevent COVID patients from getting severely ill.

As of Tuesday, 48 percent of Georgians were fully vaccinated and 55 percent had gotten at least one dose. In South Carolina, 53 percent of those eligible were fully vaccinated while 61 percent had received at least one dose. But for the millions not vaccinated, if it works, this pill could be the difference between life and death.

We talked to Augusta University’s chief of infectious diseases. He says AU is one of about 20 places in the world studying this new pill and he believes it could be a game-changer.

“The oral medication is gonna be what’s gonna get us out of where we’re out now,” said Dr. Jose Vazquez.

Vazquez says AU is testing a pill that could make a big difference if you’re infected with COVID.

“It actually inhibits the virus, once it attacks us from replicating, it prevents it from continuing to and continuing to progress and to replicate and to replicate so it doesn’t increase within the body,” he said.

Vazquez says you take it once a day for seven days. They’ve been testing it for more than a year and he believes final results could be out in a few months.

“We have had no patients so far with side effects, which is great. It’s a pretty clean drug and hopefully we can see some results of that study, it’s ongoing, by maybe the beginning part of next year,” he said.

He believes if approved, this could be big for our hospitals.

“Pills are really our lifeline. Instead of having to bring a patient in to have to give them an IV, if we can get a pill and get it to them in the emergency room and send them home,” he said.

We also asked Vasquez if he expects another surge in cases. He believes we’ll have a good winter because of rising immunity levels.

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