Covid-19: I took the antiviral pill Paxlovid and I was testing negative by day 3

Wellington health reporter Rachel Thomas is one of 1316 New Zealanders to receive Paxlovid so far.

Ross Giblin/Stuff

Wellington well being reporter Rachel Thomas is one in all 1316 New Zealanders to obtain Paxlovid thus far.

When that cheeky second line appeared on my speedy antigen take a look at, my abdomen twisted into knots.

Not as a result of I’ve been writing about this lethal virus for 2 years, not as a result of I understand how strained our well being system is and never as a result of I had some half-finished tales that weren’t going to jot down themselves.

The sinking feeling was as a result of my immune system sucks.

For many of my life I’ve been on remedy that stops it from attacking itself, to present it the very best probability of combating Crohn’s illness – a persistent illness that causes rampant irritation within the digestive tract.

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Whereas the remedy retains my Crohn’s at bay, it means my immune system finds it more durable to combat off viruses and bugs, and it may well take weeks for me to heal from a bruise.

Whereas the road on my speedy antigen take a look at (RAT) was pretty faint; the sore throat and fuzzy head was not.

Immunocompromised reporter Rachel Thomas' positive RAT on Monday, May 2. Two days after taking the antiviral Paxlovid, her RAT detected no Covid-19.

Rachel Thomas/Stuff

Immunocompromised reporter Rachel Thomas’ constructive RAT on Monday, Might 2. Two days after taking the antiviral Paxlovid, her RAT detected no Covid-19.

My gastroenterology crew recommended I ask my physician about Paxlovid – the brand new antiviral capsule taken at house that’s meant to forestall individuals from getting critically unwell with Covid.

As a result of New Zealand has secured simply 60,000 programs thus far, the factors is restricted to individuals with the highest well being wants.

My GP instructed her I used to be her first affected person to tick all of the packing containers since Paxlovid turned obtainable a month in the past. And it was the quickest prescription I’ve ever had. I used to be on the cellphone to my GP in regards to the drug at lunchtime and had it in my hand 90 minutes later.

Paxlovid stops the virus multiplying within the physique, so the sooner it’s taken the higher.

Paxlovid antiviral medication is made up of two medicines in blister packs that work in conjunction to stop the virus in its tracks.

Rachel Thomas/Stuff

Paxlovid antiviral remedy is made up of two medicines in blister packs that work in conjunction to cease the virus in its tracks.

Knowledge from producer Pfizer discovered Paxlovid lowered the danger of hospitalisation or loss of life by 89% if it was taken within the first three days of an infection.

By the point I took my first dose at 2.15pm on day one in all my an infection, my eyes had been heavy, it damage to swallow and it felt like I used to be falling headfirst into quicksand.

Lower than 48 hours later, my RAT detected no Covid-19. My head was nonetheless heavy, however I used to be capable of do some light yoga (though there was loads of prolonged little one’s pose) and make one thing apart from breakfast meals.

May Paxlovid be behind this? Immunologist and director of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Analysis, Dr Graham Le Gros, stated sure, completely – “the remedy can cease the replication of the virus”, making me ‘undetectable’.

Rachel Thomas’ negative RAT on day 3 – no Covid-19 was detected. A test on day 6 also did not detect Covid-19.

Rachel Thomas/Stuff

Rachel Thomas’ destructive RAT on day 3 – no Covid-19 was detected. A take a look at on day 6 additionally didn’t detect Covid-19.

The Ministry of Well being stated the identical factor, including a PCR can be the one positive method to know whether or not my outcome was ‘undetectable’.

After all there might be different causes for this – RATs aren’t foolproof, I may have been at a later stage in my an infection or my vaccinations may have kicked in. However primarily based on my signs, earlier destructive exams, and my degree of immunosuppression, these causes appear unlikely.

A few of my signs like mind fog and a boring headache lasted the total week. The ministry defined why: the preliminary viral load would have led to a “important inflammatory response”, which is behind loads of the signs of the an infection. “This takes time to quiet down once more as soon as the viral load has dropped.”

I completed the 5-day course, which concerned six drugs every day with none of the negative effects corresponding to nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea that I’d been warned about.

The nastiest one, which was a shock, was a robust style of bile, dubbed ‘Paxlovid Mouth’. When you’ve ever crunched a paracetamol by chance, think about that and blend it with cleaning soap. That was fairly unrelenting and no quantity of brushing my tooth may shake it.

However given the selection, I’ll take a mouthful of cleaning soap over a hospital mattress, each time.

How a lot Paxlovid has reached the neighborhood?

As of Might 6, a complete of 1316 programs of Paxlovid had been distributed, the Ministry of Well being says. That’s greater than 43 prescriptions stuffed every day, because it turned obtainable on April 5.

An analogous antiviral, molnupiravir, which arrived on the finish of April, was made obtainable on Might 5. 13 programs had been distributed by Friday, Might 6, the ministry stated.

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