Pfizer tests pill that could prevent COVID Infection | Daily News

Pfizer tests pill that could prevent COVID Infection

Pfizer announced Monday that it has started large-scale studies testing an oral antiviral drug for the prevention of COVID-19 among people who have been exposed to the virus.

The mid-to-late-stage study will test Pfizer’s oral drug, PF-07321332, in up to 2,660 healthy adult participants aged 18 and older who reside in the same household as a person with a confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 infection, according to a press readout.

The trial drug is designed to block the activity of a key enzyme needed for the virus to multiply and will be administered along with a low dosage of ritonavir, a medication widely used in combination treatments for HIV infection.

Pfizer said it specifically created the drug to be administered orally “so that it can potentially be prescribed at the first sign of infection or at first awareness of an exposure, without requiring patients to be hospitalized."

So far, the only approved antiviral treatment for COVID-19 in the United States is Gilead Sciences’s intravenous drug remdesivir, which former President Donald Trump took in combination with dexamethasone when he contracted COVID-19 last fall.

“With the continued impact of COVID-19 around the world, we believe that tackling the virus will require effective treatments for people who contract, or have been exposed to, the virus, complementing the impact that vaccines have had in helping quell infections," said Mikael Dolsten, the Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical at Pfizer.

Pfizer, along with rival drug companies Merck & Co. and Roche Holding AG, have been racing to create an easy-to-administer antiviral pill for the coronavirus. - 

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