The US-based multinational drugmaker Pfizer has confirmed that a large-scale study is being conducted to test a new oral antiviral drug. If all goes well, this antiviral drug will then be used for the prevention of Covid-19 infections.
The pharmaceutical company, along with its rivals American Merck & Co Inc and Swiss Roche Holding AG, have been racing to develop an easy-to-take antiviral pill for Covid-19.
The mid-to-late-stage study will test Pfizer’s drug, PF-07321332, in up to 2 660 healthy adult participants. The participants have to be age 18 and older to partake in the study. They will also have to live in the same household as an individual with a confirmed symptomatic Covid-19 infection.
PF-07321332 is designed to block the activity of a key enzyme that is needed for the coronavirus to multiply and spread. During the trial, it will be administered along with a dose of ritonavir. Ritonavir is an older medication that has been used in combination treatments for HIV infections.
Another study of PF-07321332 was started by Pfizer, however, this was in non-hospitalised symptomatic adult patients.
To date, Gilead Sciences Inc’s intravenous drug remdesivir is the only approved antiviral treatment for Covid-19 in the US. Merck and Ridgeback Boptherapeutics is also busy with another experimental drug called molnupiravir. The drug is in a late-stage trial for the prevention of Covid-19 infection.
Pfizer says the vaccine in children are showing positive results
Recently, Pfizer announced that its BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines had been shown to be “safe and generate a robust antibody response in children ages 5 to 11″. 2268 participants aged 5 to 11 took part in the trial.
Pfizer said the immunity levels compared well with older people who received the larger dose, demonstrating a “strong immune response in this cohort of children one month after the second dose.”