Pfizer is Developing a New Pill Against Covid-19, Know How it Works
Pfizer is developing a new pill to treat and prevent from being infected of Covid-19. Here`s what you need to know:
1. Can taking a pill prevent one from catching COVID-19?
It's been over a year and a half that we have been dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic. While on one hand, several vaccines have been rolled out, and many more, including innovative multivariant jabs being tested, scientific experts are working on even extra promising ways of mitigating COVID risk. One amongst them is a novel anti-coronavirus pill, which is being developed by American Pharmaceutical major, Pfizer Inc.
Pfizer, which is currently leading the COVID vaccine race with its powerful vaccine jab, is growing the novel anti-COVID pill and is currently in the testing phase. While this is one of the first-of-its-kind preventive COVID pills developed globally, we explain how it works and what makes it so special:
2. What is the anti COVID pill developed by Pfizer?
The anti COVID pill developed by Pfizer is an oral-antiviral pill which works to prevent a COVID infection caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus when used in the nascent stages. While there are several such antiviral pills available to treat other infectious diseases, and some also being considered to 'stop' COVID primarily, Pfizer's is the first such pill developed, and now being pushed into the clinical trial phase. The drug is no longer just novel in its approach, it will be nothing short of a game changer in our ongoing fight against the pandemic, with several concerning variants and waning vaccine immunity causing flare-ups.
3. How does it work?
According to reports, Pfizer's plans to develop an antiviral pill to fight and prevent COVID-19 was rolled out in March 2021 and have been in development mode ever since.
The antiviral pill is being planned in a manner which should help people completely ward off their COVID-19 risk, if they happen to come in contact with someone who tests positive for the virus, or has suspected COVID-19 symptoms. The antiviral therapy, developed in a similar manner to how preventive HIV-AIDS and Influenza pills work, aims at stopping or effectively slowing down the production of enzymes which facilitate viral increase and reproduction once the virus infects the body.
The trial will test the safety and efficacy of the pill with ritonavir, another antiviral extensively used to treat HIV. It works in a way that it stops the virus at the early stages, so that there is miniscule chances for the contagion to spread and cause a potential infection. The drug is planned to be administered at the first signs of infection, just when the virus enters so that there remain minimal chances of infection, or if at all the infection has spread, causing a severe infection. Thus, it is being focused towards people who have been in contact with COVID+ people specifically. Apart from that, Pfizer is also conducting another study to see how well the drug could work amongst these who have already developed an infection.
There are two similar drugs developed by Merck & Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Roche and Atea Pharmaceuticals, in different stages of planning.
4. Efficacy and protection
The pharma major plans to conduct trials by enrolling 2600 people in the late-stage study, wherein humans would be either getting a combination drug or a placebo medicine, which would be given to them for 5-10 days, and needs to be had twice a day as an oral medicine.
While the trial is still in its preliminary phase, the scientists plan to study the workable efficacy of the drug under testing in the form of a combination, wherein it would be supplied with Ritonavir low-dose. The testing pool will involve all participants who are over 18 years of age, and have been in contact with COVID-19 positive patients.
Scientists believe that the combination medicine can work well in stopping the spread of a COVID infection, since it belongs to a class of pills referred to as protease inhibitors, very commonly used in treatment and prevention of infections like HIV and Hepatitis-C and have been clinically tested to be well-effective in blocking crucial enzymes.
5. How far could it help?
Even though the medicine is still in its preliminary stages, having an effective antiviral pill like this ready could not only reduce the burden on clinic resources, but also help people who may happen to catch a breakthrough infection.
6. How soon could it be available?
Researchers plan to have the earliest findings available for review by the first quarter of 2022. If the antiviral drug is determined to be well-effective and preventive of COVID-19 infection, it could be made available by the end of 2022, potentially.
Source: India Times