A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the delta variant, the world’s most prevalent.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Pfizer said it would grant a license for the antiviral pill to the Geneva-based Medicines Patent Pool, which would let generic drug companies produce the pill for use in 95 countries, making up about 53% of the world’s population.
If authorized by the Food and Drug Administration it could be a major step toward managing the pandemic, allowing patients to treat themselves at home. FDA regulators will scrutinize company data on the safety and effectiveness of the drug, which will be sold as Paxlovid, before making a decision.
Researchers tested two shots for the 6- to 11-year-olds, given a month apart, that each contained half the dose given to adults. Preliminary results showed vaccinated children developed virus-fighting antibodies similar to levels that young adults produce after full-strength shots, Moderna said in a news release.