Pfizer Begins Trials to Bring Covid Inhibitor in Pill Form
Pfizer is hoping that the Covid "pill" in phase 1 trials will prevent the virus from spreading and keep patients out of the hospital.
Pfizer, the manufacturer of the most widely administered COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, is researching a new pill-based cure for the virus using the same class of drug used to combat HIV.
Pfizer, the manufacturer of the most commonly prescribed COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, is researching a new pill-based treatment for the virus using the same class of drug used to combat HIV.
Although none of the vaccinations have complete immunity from infection, they have been proven to greatly decrease diseases and be highly successful in avoiding hospitalizations and mortality.
On Tuesday, Pfizer confirmed starting a phase 1 clinical trial for a protease inhibitor pill as a cure for the virus. The trial’s announcement comes months after Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, produced in partnership with the German company BioNTech, was approved for use and started to be distributed in the United States and many other nations. The pill, officially known as PF-07321332, could provide an additional tool against the virus at a time when fast-moving mutations seek to undermine vaccine efficacy.
If the pill is effective in clinical trials, it may be used early in an outbreak to prevent virus transmission until patients became seriously ill. To prevent the virus from replicating, the medication attaches to a protease enzyme. Some viruses, such as HIV and Hepatitis C, have been effectively controlled with protease inhibitors.
“Given the way SARS-CoV-2 is mutating and the continuing global effects of Covid-19, it appears probable that access to therapeutic alternatives will be crucial both now and after the pandemic,” said Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s Chief Scientific Officer, in a statement.
“Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic involves both vaccination preventive and tailored care for those who acquire the infection,” said Pfizer’s Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten in a statement published by Newsweek. “Given the way SARS-CoV-2 is mutating and the ongoing global effects of COVID-19, it appears possible that access to therapeutic alternatives would be crucial both now and after the pandemic.”
“We developed PF-07321332 as a possible oral therapy that could be administered at the first symptom of infection, without the need for patients to be hospitalized or in intensive care,” Dolsten said.
In test-tube trials, the medication showed action against the virus that triggers COVID-19, as well as activity against other forms of coronaviruses, with the firm stating that the findings increase the prospect of “potential application to counter possible coronavirus attacks.”
Dolsten praised both the oral drug and the company’s newly developed therapeutic protease inhibitor therapy, which is expected to be given intravenously to hospitalized COVID-19 patients and is currently in phase 1b studies. According to Dolsten, the two methods “can establish an end-to-end prevention model that complements vaccination in situations where illness still exists.”
Although none of the vaccinations have complete immunity from infection, they have been proven to decrease diseases significantly and be highly successful in avoiding hospitalizations and mortality. Treatment alternatives may further alleviate issues raised by the possibility that some of the mutations now circulating worldwide have demonstrated a small degree of susceptibility to vaccinations, even though both Pfizer and Moderna are designing booster shots or alternative vaccine versions to tackle evolving variants.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 64.6 million adults in the United States have earned at least one injection of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as of Tuesday. Moderna’s vaccination was not far away, with about 60.9 million doses delivered, while the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was administered to less than 2.5 million individuals.
Protease inhibitors were a class of medicines that revolutionized HIV therapy in the mid-1990s by inhibiting viral replication by attaching to protease proteins. They are essential components of the multi-drug “cocktail” medicines that have transformed HIV from an illness that almost often results in AIDS and death to a disease that can mostly be survived if medications are available and utilized daily. The medicines are also used to cure Hepatitis C diseases, and doctors are looking at using them to treat some cases of cancer and bacterial infections.
Pfizer Begins Human Trials of New Pill to Treat Coronavirus