By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – This week, the FDA gave the green light to the first pill to treat COVID-19 called Paxlovid. 

The treatment has to be given emergency use authorization. The medication is supposed to be used within the first three to five days of symptoms. 

READ MORE: Maryland Prepares For Increase In Patients After Roe V. Wade Overturned

A five-day course of the drug includes three pills twice a day. 

READ MORE: Rewards Programs Can Offset Painful Prices At Baltimore Gas Stations

The chief of infectious disease at Greater Baltimore Medical Center is calling this a potentially tremendous step forward in the fight against the pandemic.

“We might still have the same number of hospitalizations, might still have the same number of deaths,” Dr. Theodore Baily said. “It really depends on, do we use it responsibly by doing all the other things we know to also keep our risk down?”

MORE NEWS: Mistrial Declared For Dirt Bike Star Accused In New Year's Day Deadly Stabbing

Studies show the drug has been shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths by 88 percent if given within the first five days of symptoms.

CBS Baltimore Staff