The first pill against Covid-19 could be ready by the end of the year

The first pill against Covid-19 is already in the testing phase and according to its results, it could be ready this year. Experts indicate that previous human trials should not take more than half a year. For this reason, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer believes that its pill against the coronavirus could be on the market by the end of 2021.

The drug PF-07321332, which is currently in clinical trials, was designed to target the part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Specifically, the capacity that allows it to replicate in the nose, throat and lungs. It would be indicated as an alternative to the vaccine, since the idea is to be able to administer it as a treatment, and not as a prophylaxis against the coronavirus.

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In the last few days, 60 healthy volunteers, between 18 and 60 years old, have been testing this anti-Covid-19 pill. The test lasts 145 days and is carried out in three phases:

  • The first allows to observe how the antiviral is tolerated when the dose is increased and if there are side effects.
  • The second will be almost the same, but with multiple doses.
  • And the last phase is devoted to testing the "compressed and liquid forms" of the drug.

How does the pill work against Covid-19?

The objective of this drug is to prevent the SARS-Cov-2 virus enzyme from replicating throughout the body, developing a protease inhibitor. In this way, it will be achieved that the infections do not progress to serious symptoms.

It is a mechanism similar to the one currently used to treat HIV. In fact, PF-07321332 would be administered in combination with low-dose ritonavir. EL which is an antiviral used to treat immunodeficiency caused by AIDS.

Mikael Dolsten, Chief Scientific Officer and President of Pfizer says:

"We have designed PF-07321332 as a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection. Without requiring patients to be hospitalized or in critical care”.

The use of the tablet may also be useful for those people who, due to their particular clinical situation, cannot be inoculated.

On the other hand, Dafydd Owen, Pfizer's Director of Medical Chemistry, noted during a private symposium that the antiviral pill was developed from scratch during the pandemic. The first seven milligrams of the compound, no more than a drop of rain, were prepared at the end of July. Three months later, 100 grams had been produced and in just two more weeks, the quantity increased to more than a kilo.

"It took 210 researchers to do it”Owen said.

Finally, none of the trials have identified a significant risk or safety event of concern. Neither has suggested side effects at any of the dose levels that will be used for clinical trials.

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Could this pill be an alternative against the coronavirus?

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