HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Pfizer‘s COVID-19 treatment pill Paxlovid has received emergency use authorization from the FDA.

“This is a really exciting day,” said Eric Arlia, Hartford Healthcare‘s director of pharmacy.

Paxlovid is an antiviral drug combination to treat people already diagnosed with COVID-19.

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“Pfizer is telling us that their Paxlovid is 89% effective at reducing the risk for hospitalizations,” explained Arlia.

Arlia added, even though Pfizer’s data has not been peer-reviewed, the preliminary approval is cause for encouragement.

The U.S. government has bought 10 million courses of the COVID pill in a $5-billion deal. The plan is to make the drug free and accessible to those who could benefit from it.

It is an in-home treatment and will keep those with the virus out of hospitals that are already filling up. This as the omicron variant is spreading quickly.

“For us here at Hartford Healthcare, this is really our first time being able to treat someone who has a positive COVID test completely at home without having to interact with the hospital system, not needing an infusion, not needing hospitalization,” said Arlia.

The pill has to be prescribed and taken early in the infection.

“As most antivirals go, the quicker you start treatment the better they are effective. Ideally, you want to treat people within the first three days of onset.”