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PAXLOVID for LONG COVID

The jury is still out. Pfizer’s anti-viral drug Paxlovid is still the best candidate for treating Long Covid, for which there is no proven alternative treatment. In a thoughtful review, microbiologist Katherine Wu points out that it is not clear what is the driver of Long Covid. Is it residual covid virus or bits of it left over from the original infection? Or is the virus long-since gone, leaving behind inflammation in overdrive, antibodies attacking the patients’ own tissues, and a nervous system out of wack. Or both? Long Covid may not even be a single disease. So whither Paxlovid? The reports of its effectiveness in Long Covid are anecdotal and contradictory. What do the clinical trials say? Well, they haven’t been done, largely because the disease is so complicated. What would be the read-out since Long Covid symptoms come-and-go anyway? Researchers can’t agree on how to define or even diagnose the disease. Besides, the persistence of the virus in long Covid hasn’t been rigorously confirmed. Paxlovid isn’t the answer, but it is the biggest hope we have yet.

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