Pfizer Starts Mid-to-Late-stage Trial of Oral Antiviral Therapy for COVID-19

Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc.’s commenced the latest trial for their developing oral antiviral drugs for COVID-19 in combatting the rise of potentially terminal virus-related illnesses.

Reuters reported that Pfizer’s recent mid-to-late stage trial will sign up 1,140 adults diagnosed with COVID-19 who are not severely ill. The patients will be administered the Pfizer pill (PF-07321332) and a low dose of ritonavir, which is a medication used with HIV treatments. 

The Pfizer pill is designed to obstruct a key enzyme’s activity that is essential for the virus to double in number.

Merck said that the new trial will experiment molnupiravir for combatting COVID-19 among adults in the same household as someone who has coronavirus symptoms. Merck and its partner, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics are working on a late-phase trial of the treatment in non-hospitalized patients to observe if it diminishes severe symptoms or death risks. 

The U.S. government agreed to shell out $1.2 billion for 1.7 doses of molnupiravir last June, if its effectiveness is approved by regulators. Merck anticipated filing for U.S. emergency-use authorization of the drug in the second half of 2021.

Pfizer said that if the drug trial was successful in July, it will file for a potential emergency-use accreditation come the fourth quarter. 

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