Paxlovid works, the vaccines don't
Heads Pfizer shareholders win, tails you lose
If you have the choice of taking an mRNA jab or the anti-viral medicine Paxlovid, take Paxlovid every time, a new study suggests.
The paper, from researchers at Harvard, offers more evidence that the sharp fall in Covid deaths this year has little to do with the mRNA vaccines - despite what vaccine advocates constantly insist.
Along with the fact Omicron is less dangerous than earlier coronavirus variants, much of the 2022 decline in deaths may come from use of Pfizer’s antiviral medicine Paxlovid, which sharply lowers mortality, the study suggests.
(SUBSCRIBE NOW AND I’LL STOP INCLUDING THESE ANNOYING BUTTONS! Maybe.)
In two equally sized and carefully matched groups of vaccinated people with Omicron at high risk for Covid complications, none of those who received Paxlovid died over the next 30 days - compared to 10 people who did not get the medicine. The people who received Paxlovid also had about a 45 percent lower chance of visiting a hospital emergency room.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that death and hospitalization rates were strikingly high among the vaccinated people who did NOT receive Paxlovid, even though they were relatively young. The researchers tracked 1,130 people in each group, so 10 deaths is a mortality rate of almost 1 percent in the group that didn’t receive Paxlovid.
(Ten dead is more than zero dead:)
Again, these patients had Omicron, not Delta or another variant. Their average age was only 57. They received advanced medical care. They were not healthy but by the standards of American middle age not particularly unhealthy either. Only about 20 percent were obese, and a similar number diabetic.
The researchers did not include a unvaccinated group in the study, so even a theoretical comparison of jabbed to unjabbed people is impossible. But a 1 percent death rate in this group of people is hardly impressive evidence that the vaccines work to prevent severe disease and death.
The study was a review of medical records and not a randomly controlled clinical trial, so it does not prove that Paxlovid caused the reductions. The patients who received Paxlovid might have been subtly different than those who did not.
But the study supports the findings of Pfizer’s clinical trial of Paxlovid, which showed a similarly sized benefit last year. But Pfizer ran that trial only in unvaccinated people, leading some researchers to question whether the medicine would work as well in the vaccinated. This paper suggests it does.
With Covid death rates plunging in 2022, vaccine advocates have tried to give the mRNA jabs the credit, claiming endlessly that the shots reduce deaths and severe outcomes even after they stop working against disease.
But considerable circumstantial evidence - both epidemiologic and cellular - suggests otherwise. Among the most important points:
Deaths have fallen even faster in countries that did NOT use the mRNA jabs;
In most mRNA countries, deaths are now overwhelmingly in the vaccinated;
Highly mRNA vaccinated countries that did not have earlier Covid waves, such as Australia and New Zealand, have had some of the highest death rates this year, suggesting that immunity from earlier infections rather than the shots is crucial to reducing deaths;
Studies of cellular-level immunity suggest that the mRNA shots do not build T-cell immunity against Omicron - which is the major theoretical reason they might reduce deaths even after they fail against infections.
Now this paper builds on the evidence that Paxlovid - which has been given to millions of Covid patients around the world - is playing an important role in the drop in deaths this year.
And who makes and sells Paxlovid? Pfizer, of course!
Yes, the same company that has sold tens of billions of dollars in mRNA vaccines that do little against Omicron and may actually increase the risk of infection with new variants over time. Now it’s now selling tens of billions of dollars in an anti-viral pill that - for now - does seem to work against every variant. Further, Paxlovid is likely to add to Pfizer’s profits for years, even as demand for the vaccines collapses.
Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, may no longer be the world’s favorite veterinarian - as the hammering he took last week after announcing on Twitter he had Covid suggested.
But Paxlovid’s success suggests that he remains a very, very lucky man.