This COVID-19 patient is being treated with Paxlovid, Pfizer's antiviral drug.
He is currently being looked after at a residential treatment center in Seoul,… and is very close to completing the course of pills.
"You took Paxlovid for four days now and there is only one day left of treatment. Are you feeling any better?"
"I cough less and my throat is no longer itchy."
"Right, you're no longer coughing now."
"Just like this patient, many people are expected to take the pills in the days and weeks to come. Now let's take a look at how Paxlovid is prescribed and administered."
Before prescribing the treatment, doctors first consult with the patients using non-contact methods,… to check their health.
Doctors then use the Drug Utilization Review program, also known as DUR.
This program uses the patients' prescription history to help doctors determine whether or not patients can take the pills.
This is important,… as a total of 28 drug substances are designated as ingredients that should not be taken together with Paxlovid.
If the patient is eligible and is willing to receive the treatment, the medicine is administered twice a day,… once in the morning, and once in the evening.
And medical workers regularly monitor patients' health conditions after they take the pills.
The director at this treatment center expressed optimism over the drug's potential to become a game changer amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
"I believe that Paxlovid will play a crucial role in preventing moderate cases from becoming severe. Studies have shown that the treatment is around 90-percent effective, so it will be essential in times when infections are increasing due to Omicron."
Unlike the relatively slow initial vaccine rollout, South Korea was able to become one of the first nations in the world to administer the COVID-19 pills.
The first shipment of Paxlovid arrived last week.
And over the first three days after arrival, a total of 39 people have taken the pills, with no reports of side-effects as of Sunday.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.