Pfizer was one of the leading contestants in the race to develop a vaccine that would stem the tide of illness, deaths and negative social, economic and psychological effects caused by the pandemic occasioned by the dreaded COVID 19 virus.
Once again, the company is among those leading the charge, this time to develop treatment for those who have contracted the virus. The company is reportedly starting human trials on a drug to be taken orally by those who have COVID-19 as well as one that is to be taken intravenously.; the latter is at a more advanced stage of trials.
On April 6, the company will share additional information about the progress being made; this will be done at the Spring American Chemical Society meeting. Until then, pertinent information is that the trial for the orally administered drug is being done in the United States, and the experimental antiviral drug belongs to a group of medicine called protease inhibitors which work by preventing the production of the enzyme that the virus needs replicate in human cells. In this group are those medicines used to treat HIV and Hepatitis C.
Pfizer reports that the preclinical trials of the oral drug show “potent” antiviral activity against the virus. Because the drug will be taken by mouth it can be administered outside of hospitals and will hopefully prevent hospitalizations. Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten, in a release has underscored the importance of both preventative and therapeutic medicine against COVID 19. According to Dolsten, “Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic requires both prevention via vaccine and targeted treatment for those who contract the virus.”
He further added, “Given the way that SARS-CoV-2 is mutating and the continued global impact of COVID-19, it appears likely that it will be critical to have access to therapeutic options both now and beyond the pandemic.”