COVID-19 therapeutics update: Paxlovid for high-risk patients, expanding test-to-treat services

May 19, 2022

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has stated that Paxlovid should be considered for all high-risk COVID-19 patients. The drug is in ample supply in Washington State and is available in 700 sites. Also, DOH and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are also working with telehealth providers to expand test-to-treat locations across the state.

Paxlovid is under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 for patients who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Paxlovid can significantly lower the risk for hospitalization and death by 90% if treatment is initiated within the first 5 days of a patient experiencing symptoms. However, many health experts are concerned that not enough health care providers are prescribing Paxlovid for eligible patients. The medication is now in plentiful supply and should be considered for all patients diagnosed with COVID-19 who are at higher risk for severe disease. See more information from DOH’s interim guidance. This announcement follows the release of a checklist last week from the FDA to simplify the prescribing of Paxlovid.

In the process of expanding access to test-to-treat locations, DOH is working with the Washington State Pharmacy Association and independent pharmacies to provide telemedicine services. DOH is also working to ensure these capabilities are available at community testing sites in partnership with local health jurisdictions. The federal government continues to work toward further expanding test-to-treat locations, particularly those locations that have a high social vulnerability index (SVI), medium-to-high COVID community levels and limited test-to-treat sites within a 20-mile radius. To expand these locations, the federal government provides support that can include technical assistance, clinical resources, financial reimbursement, testing supplies, medical personnel support and assistance with medication supplies to help support a site. See guidance on how to become a federally supported test-to-treat location here.

See these and other latest therapeutics alerts on the WSHA website. (Tina Seery)


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