Oral Nirmatrelvir/Ritonavir Therapy for COVID-19: The Dawn in the Dark?

Yuan Pin Hung, Jen Chieh Lee, Chun Wei Chiu, Ching Chi Lee, Pei Jane Tsai, I. Lin Hsu, Wen Chien Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid™) is an effective and safe antiviral drug that inhibits the main protease (Mpro), 3CL protease, of SARS-CoV-2. A reduction in COVID-19-related hospitalization or death was observed in patients treated with nirmatrelvir/ritonavir within five days of symptom onset. Moreover, good oral availability enables the usage of nirmatrelvir/ritonavir, not only in hospitalized patients, but also among outpatients. Nirmatrelvir (PF-07321332) has been demonstrated to stop the spread of COVID-19 in animal models. Despite frequent mutations in the viral genomes of SARS-CoV-2, nirmatrelvir shows an effective antiviral effect against recent coronavirus mutants. Despite the promising antiviral effect of nirmatrelvir, there are several unresolved concerns. First, the final results of large-scale clinical trials for early therapy of mild cases of COVID-19 are not yet published. Second, the effectiveness of nirmatrelvir against upcoming variants in the coming years requires close monitoring. Considering the promising preliminary results of the EPIC-HR trial, nirmatrelvir/ritonavir in conjunction with vaccines and non-pharmacological interventions, may represent the dawn in the dark of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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