This undated image provided by Pfizer in November 2021 shows the company's COVID-19 pills. On Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, Pfizer said that its experimental COVID-19 pill is effective against the omicron variant and maintained its promising early performance against the virus in final testing. Credit: Pfizer via AP

NEW YORK — Pfizer on Tuesday revealed its experimental COVID-19 pill can cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 percent in high-risk patients, while separate studies suggest the drug also retains its efficacy against the fast-spreading omicron variant.

The New York-based pharmaceutical company noted the antiviral treatment proved most effective when given to high-risk adults within several days of their first symptoms. Of the 697 study participants who received the drug within the first three days, no deaths were reported and only five people were hospitalized, Pfizer said in a press release.

The study meanwhile showed that 44 were hospitalized, including nine who died, out of the 682 who received placebo.

None of the adults who participated in the study were vaccinated, though experts believe the drug, dubbed, Paxlovid, will also be effective in those suffering break-through infections.

The results were fairly similar for those who received treatment within the first five days of symptoms. That figure stands at about 88 percent.

Pfizer’s final analysis of the drug reinforces data from a previous study released last month, which similarly showed the pills appear to cut hospitalizations and deaths by nearly 90 percent.

What’s more, separate laboratory testing also seems to indicate the pills will also significantly cut risks for those infected with the new omicron variant, a mutated strain of coronavirus initially discovered in South Africa.

The updated data was released as COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations — primarily fueled by omicron — continue to climb.

Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News