Drugmaker, Pfizer Inc, has disclosed that its experimental antiviral pill for COVID-19 has proven to cut rates of hospitalisation and death by almost 90%.

The pharmaceutical company released the preliminary results of its study of 775 adults which revealed that patients taking the pfizer’s drug along with another antiviral were found to have an 89 percent reduction in their combined rate of hospitalisation or death after a month. This is in comparison with patients taking a dummy pill.

Although, less than 1% of patients who were given the drug needed to be hospitalised, no death was recorded. However, in the comparison group of patients who were taking the dummy pills, 7 percent hospitalisation was recorded and there were seven deaths.

Pfizer’s Chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten said “We were hoping that we had something extraordinary, but it’s rare that you see great drugs come through with almost 90% efficacy and 100% protection for death.”

The participants of the study were unvaccinated and had mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms, and were also tagged high risk for hospitalisation as they had health problems such as obesity, diabetes or heart disease.

The treatment of the participants began within three to five days of the initial symptoms and lasted for five days.

Amongst those who were given Pfizer’s drug within the first three days of symptoms, only 0.8% of them were hospitalised and no death had been recorded 28 days after treatment.

The percentage of hospitalizations were similar for patients who were treated within five days of symptoms, as 1% of the treatment group was hospitalised, compared with 6.7% for the placebo group, which included 10 deaths.

The drugmaker has reported few details on side effects, which according to them were mild and rates of problems between the groups were similar.

Recall that Pfizer’s competitor, Merck, reported in September that its pill cut rates of hospitalisation and death by 50 percent although experts have warned against comparing preliminary results because of differences in studies.

Last Thursday, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to approve the molnupiravir pill which was jointly developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.