Covid PILL could be ready THIS year: Pfizer says the first safety trials will end in May and the at-home ‘cure’ could ship by fall
- Pfizer Inc is currently running clinical trial on an experimental pill that would be the first to cure COVID-19 called PF-07321332
- It belongs to a class of drugs called protease inhibitors, which would inhibit an enzyme that the coronavirus uses to make copies of itself inside human cells
- The first phase is set to concluded on May 25 and, if larger phases prove the drug is successful, it could be available by the end of the year
- It remains unclear if any U.S. government agencies are funding the clinical trials or if any orders have been placed for the pill
Pfizer’s Inc experimental oral drug that would the first specifically designed to stop the novel coronavirus could be available by the end of this year.
The antiviral pill belongs to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors and works by inhibiting an enzyme that the virus uses to make copies of itself.
Known as PF-07321332, the medication would be prescribed to patients at the first sign of infection with COVID-19.
According to The Telegraph, the trial is split into three phases, running for a total of 145 days, meaning it is set to conclude in mid-July.
The first phase is concluding in May and, if larger trials, the drug could be distributed to hospitals and doctors’ offices by autumn 2021.
Pfizer’s experimental drug, called PF-07321332 belongs to a class of drugs called protease inhibitors, which would inhibit an enzyme that the coronavirus uses to make copies of itself inside human cells (file image)
Developing drugs for respiratory diseases is tough, partly because doses have to be high enough for the medicine to reach deep into the lungs yet not so high that they’re toxic.
Research on treatments also was slower because the U.S. government initially gave priority to vaccines.
It wasn’t until the end of April 2020 that the first COVID-19 treatment showed benefit in a big government-sponsored study.
That drug – remdesivir, sold as Veklury by Gilead Sciences Inc – remains the only one approved for COVID-19 in the U.S., though some others, are authorized for emergency use.
According to clinicaltrials.gov, the trial is being run at two Pfizer locations, one in New Haven, Connecticut, and the other in Brussels, Belgium.
A total of 60 participants are enrolled between the ages of 18 and 60 with some participants will be given one of four doses of the drug and others the placebo, but even researchers won’t know what pill the volunteers.
The website, run by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, states that study is estimated to be completed by May 25.
If results show the medication is safe and effective, the company will move on to Phase II and recruit a larger group of participants, and even be available later this year.
‘If they have moved to this stage, they will be quietly optimistic,’ Dr Penny Ward, a visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, told The Telegraph.
‘The question will be about how the drug is tolerated…They will be going like the clappers.’
In the U.S., the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) on April 17.
The program is focused on developing therapeutics against the coronavirus, its variants and other viruses with the potential to cause pandemics.
Although Pfizer is listed as one of the member companies of ACTIV, it is unclear if PF-07321332 is one of the drugs being studied or if the NIH is helping to fund the trial.
Neither the NIH nor the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services immediately returned DailyMail.com’s request for comment in time for publication.
A spokeswoman for Pfizer refused to answer questions about whether any government agencies are funding clinical trials and if the U.S. has placed any orders for the drug.