White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Speaks on Underuse of COVID-19 Treatment, Paxlovid

February 6, 2023

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, who was appointed to his position in the White House COVID-19 Response Team in March of 2022, recently participated in an interview with Eric Topol, Editor-in-Chief of Medscape, in which he called attention to what he sees as the continued underuse of the COVID-19 treatment, Paxlovid.

Topol noted that several weeks prior to this interview, which was conducted on January 24, 2023, Dr. Jha had called attention to the fact that individuals aged 65 and older were not the people who were most frequently receiving Paxlovid when infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This was pointed out as a concern because those in that 65+ age group are at the highest risk for hospitalization, serious illness, and death from COVID-19, although Paxlovid is "extraordinarily effective" at preventing, as Dr. Jha has been quoted as saying. Topol added to this, stating that for Paxlovid, "the studies - not just the randomized trial, but also subsequent effectiveness studies - have shown a 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk groups."

Dr. Jha stated, "Right now, when we look at the 400-500 people who are dying every day, almost all of them are over 75. What is interesting to me - and not in a great way - is that when you look at Paxlovid use, it certainly goes up with age. But once you get to about age 75 or so, it actually starts declining very rapidly."

"Many of the people who are dying today did not receive Paxlovid. It's a major problem. We can talk about what the issues might be, but people in their 70s and 80s should not be denied treatments. Too many of them are not being treated when they become infected with SARS-CoV-2," Dr Jha added.

Click here to read or watch the full interview between White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha and Medscape Editor-in-Chief Eric Topol.

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