National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed on Tuesday that he experienced a rebound COVID-19 symptoms after taking the controversial antiviral medication, Paxlovid, which is manufactured by Pfizer.
Paxlovid was granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December to treat COVID patients ages 12 and up who weigh at least 88 pounds, and are at high risk for severe disease.
The quadruple vaxxed Fauci, 81, told journalist Tal Alroy at the Foreign Policy Global Health Forum on Tuesday that he had recovered from his initial bout of COVID-19 earlier this month, testing negative after taking Paxlovid for five days.
“I reverted to negative on an antigen test for three days in a row,” he told Alroy. “And then on the fourth day, just to be absolutely certain, I tested myself again, and I reverted back to positive.”
Due to his advance age, Fauci is considered to be at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 even though he’s fully vaxed and boosted.
He said rebounds are becoming “more and more typical, the more clinical experience we get.”
“It’s what people are referring to as a Paxlovid rebound, and then over the next day or so, I started to feel really poorly, much worse than in the first go around,” Fauci said.
Paxlovid is the combination of two antiviral drugs, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, a “highly hepatotoxic” (injures the liver) HIV medication.
During the 2022 State of the Union, Joe Biden said: “If you get COVID-19, the Pfizer pill reduces your chances of ending up in the hospital by 90 percent.”
He added, “I’ve ordered more pills than anyone in the world has. Pfizer is working overtime to get us a million pills this month and more than double that next month.”
U.S. taxpayers are on the hook for $10.6 billion for the “free” medication, the Defender reported.
Paxlovid retails for $700 for a five-day course, but the U.S. government cut a deal to pay half that.
In November 2021, the U.S. government sealed a business deal with Pfizer to the tune of $5.3 billion for 10 million treatment courses of the experimental antiviral treatment.
Then in January, the government doubled its order to 20 million courses of Paxlovid, bringing the U.S. taxpayer bill to $10.6 billion.
For many vaccinated people stricken with the Omicron variants (which seem to prefer the vaccinated), a course of Paxlovid appears to be leading to a temporary pause, and then a resurgence of viral replication and symptoms.
Despite the fact that his symptoms got “much worse” after taking Paxlovid for his initial infection, Fauci said he decided to take a second course of the medication when he got sick again.
“So, I went back on Paxlovid and right now I am on my fourth day of a five-day course on my second course of Paxlovid,” he said.
The doctor added that although he’s not completely symptom-free, he now feels “reasonably good.”
In May, the CDC issued an alert to healthcare providers, public health departments, and other officials about the possibility of a “COVID-19 rebound” in Paxlovid-treated patients.
“Paxlovid continues to be recommended for early-stage treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 among persons at high risk for progression to severe disease,” the CDC notice said. “Paxlovid treatment helps prevent hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. COVID-19 rebound has been reported to occur between 2 and 8 days after initial recovery and is characterized by a recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms or a new positive viral test after having tested negative.”
“Limited information currently available from case reports suggests that persons treated with Paxlovid who experience COVID-19 rebound have had mild illness; there are no reports of severe disease,” the agency continued. “There is currently no evidence that additional treatment is needed with Paxlovid or other anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapies in cases where COVID-19 rebound is suspected.”