Pfizer trials new pill that could stop early-stage Covid in its tracks

Pfizer has started stage one clinical trials of an oral pill that the company claims Covid-19 patients can take as soon as they start developing symptoms. If the trail is successful, this could be the first early intervention for Covid of its kind that could prevent the worsening of symptoms.

Pfizer is conducting the trial in the US for now and says that it has so far “demonstrated potent in-vitro antiviral activity” against the virus that causes Covid-19, “as well as activity against other coronaviruses, suggesting potential for use in the treatment of Covid-19 as well as potential use to address future coronavirus threats”.

Pfizer chief scientific officer Mikael Dolsten was quoted by media as saying: “Together, the two [oral and intravenous antivirals] have the potential to create an end to end treatment paradigm that complements vaccination.”

In a statement, Mr Dolsten said: “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.”

The oral pill belongs to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors which, according to Pfizer, “bind to a viral enzyme (called a protease), preventing the virus from replicating in the cell.”

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