(Bloomberg) – Pfizer Inc. said it has started testing the human safety of a new pill to treat the coronavirus that could be used at the first sign of illness.
By Robert Langreth
March 23, 2021, 5:00 p.m.
Word Count: 329
If successful in trials, the pill could be prescribed at the start of an infection to block viral replication before patients get very sick. The medicine binds to an enzyme called protease to prevent the virus from replicating. Protease inhibitor drugs have been successful in treating other types of viruses, including HIV and hepatitis C.
“Given how SARS-CoV-2 mutates and the continued global impact of Covid-19, it seems likely that having access to treatment options both now and beyond will be critical. pandemic, ”said Mikael Dolsten, chief scientist of Pfizer, in a statement.
The new protease inhibitor is the second such drug Pfizer has introduced in human trials to treat Covid-19. Pfizer is testing another administered intravenously to hospitalized virus patients.
Easy-to-use treatments are lacking for patients with early-stage Covid-19. Although antibody treatments from Eli Lilly & Co. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are authorized in the United States for Covid patients who have not yet been hospitalized but are at high risk of developing severe symptoms, they should be infused in hospital or at a doctor’s office. Office.
This created logistical challenges which limited their use. Other therapies are aimed at sicker people: Remdesivir, an antiviral drug from Gilead Sciences Inc., needs to be infused over several days and is only approved for hospital patients.
Among the major drug makers, Merck & Co. has one of the few coronavirus pills that is well advanced in human testing. Its investigational antiviral drug, molnupiravir, works by a different mechanism than the drug Pfizer and is being tested at an advanced stage in humans.
In the test tube, Pfizer’s oral protease inhibitor, named PF-07321332, had potent antiviral activity against both SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses, Pfizer said. The company said it will share more data on the compound at the American Chemical Society meeting on April 6.
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