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What antivirals are available?
This year in Australia, the XBB COVID strains have dominated and acquired a couple of key mutations. When COVID-19 mutates into new variants, it doesn’t affect the ability of either Paxlovid or Lagevrio to work because the parts of the virus that change from the mutations aren’t those targeted by these two drugs.
What does the evidence say?
However, few people at the highest risk from COVID-19 were included in this trial. So it could offer some benefit for patients in this group.
In Australia, Lagevrio is not routinely recommended and Paxlovid is preferred. However, not all patients can take Paxlovid. For example, people with medical conditions such as severe kidney or liver impairment shouldn’t take it because these issues can affect how well the body metabolises the medication, which increases the risk of side effects.
More serious side effects of both medicines are allergic reactions, such as shortness of breath, swelling of the face, lips or tongue and a severe rash, itching or hives. If you experience any of these, call 000 immediately or go straight to the nearest emergency department.
If needed, this will ensure you can start treatment as soon as possible. It’s important antivirals are started within five days of symptom onset.
Nial Wheate is an associate professor of the Sydney Pharmacy School, University of Sydney.