Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the first antiviral pill to treat COVID-19, a move that gives doctors another tool to fight the disease. The treatment, made by Pfizer, curbs the risk of hospitalization and death in high-risk patients infected with the coronavirus.

Called Paxlovid, the treatment includes 30 pills taken at home over five days. It has to be started within a few days of symptoms — which could be a challenge in the United States, where it may be difficult for many people to get a COVID-19 test, a result, and see a doctor for a prescription in that window.

Paxlovid cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 89 percent for adults with COVID-19 at high risk of developing severe disease when it was…

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