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Making Paxlovid

Jan. 06, 2022 4:36 AM ETPFE11 Comments
Derek Lowe profile picture
Derek Lowe


  • Paxlovid's course of treatment is two 150mg tablets, along with a 100mg tablet of ritonavir (more on that in a minute), twice a day for five days.
  • If you track almost any drug's production down to the earliest stages, you will almost invariably come to a whole bunch of offshore suppliers.
  • There's a fairly superficial look at what's going on, and I hope it gives people a view of what this sort of production involves.

Medical syringes with inscription Paxlovid for Covid-19 treatment

Evgeny Lonskov/iStock via Getty Images

So let's talk a bit about the synthesis of Paxlovid (PF-07321332), Pfizer's (PFE) protease inhibitor drug for the coronavirus. As everyone will have seen, the US government just increased its order for

This article was written by

Derek Lowe profile picture
Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek, email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com (mailto:derekb.lowe@gmail.com)

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Comments (11)

rando_on_the_internet profile picture
I still don't understand why a string of US Presidents, especially George W. Bush but to a lesser extent every President from Reagan through Obama, with the full support of Congress regardless of what party, thought it was A-OK for the US to just dismantle its industrial base.
MikeFromNZ profile picture
Where's Walt Heisenberg when you need him??
Very informative.
Appreciate the effort, very informative.
Gary Jakacky profile picture
Better living through chemistry!?
ScottRio profile picture
Terrific explanation of complexities in the process and the supply chain issues. This is why it is so important for the unvaxxed to get vaccinated.
(Organic Chemist)
SnufferBottle profile picture
Thanks for the detailed explanation!
Great explanation of why Paxlovid must initially be restricted to those most at risk of poor outcomes such as immunocompromised (3% of pop’n).
retiredpharma profile picture
thanx Daryl,

knew Pax was complicated but clearly there will not be enough for all who will need it, and my gue$$ is that Hoarding could be an issue...I mean think about DIST alone! U must take it early on in symptoms or its useless...that time crunch alone renders the drug imo not practical in todays markets!

Dividend Ambassador profile picture
Great article. Thank you very much. I learned a lot.
Nice article, explaining the complex mfg process
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