AUGUSTA, GA ( WJBF) — Pfizer’s COVID -19 pill could soon be a game changer — the treatment is the first for COVID that is in the form of a pill.

“Having this over the next couple of weeks being available is a very important tool in being able to treat those with covid – 19 and at high risk for hospitalization and death,” Assistant VP of AU Strategic Planning and Pharmacy Services Dr. Joshua Wyche said.

Pfizer’s Paxlovid pills can be given to a patient immediately after testing positive for COVID-19 or within five days of the onset of symptoms.

Doctors at AU say the pill could mean fewer COVID hospitalizations and deaths.

“This certainly will have an impact on decreasing the number of hospitalizations that healthy systems will face especially as this becomes widely available,” Wyche said.

However, Wyche said it’s important to note that this an emergency use authorization not an approval.

It could still be days or weeks before the pill is widely available.

“We don’t know what that time frame looks like, and it will be important for people to keep that in mind when they test positive and reach out for options,” Wyche said.

When the pill does become widely available it’s expected to protect against both the Delta and Omicron variants.

“It is believed that this protease inhibitor will be effective against Omicron, Delta, Alpha and potentially many others if not all variants in the future,” Wyche said.