Pfizer in late-stage trials of pill that fights COVID-19 infections

Pfizer announced on Monday that it is in the late phase of a study to test an oral antiviral drug that would prevent a COVID-19 infection.

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The study will test the company’s pill, PF-07321332, in more than 2,600 participants ages 18 and older. The pill would aim to block a key enzyme that COVID-19 needs to multiply, the company said.

“With the continued impact of COVID-19 around the world, we believe that tackling the virus will require effective treatments for people who contract, or have been exposed to, the virus, complementing the impact that vaccines have had in helping quell infections,” Dr. Mikael Dolsten, the company’s chief scientific officer and president of worldwide research, development and medical, said in a news release posted Monday.

“If successful, we believe this therapy could help stop the virus early – before it has had a chance to replicate extensively – potentially preventing symptomatic disease in those who have been exposed and inhibiting the onset of infection in others.”

Phase 1 of the study began in March, according to the company.

Those tested would live in the same household as a person who has a confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 infection.

According to Reuters, Pfizer is not the only company studying a pill to fight COVID-19. Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics are also in a late-stage trial of their experimental drug molnupiravir, which aims to prevent a COVID-19 infection.