Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) announced Tuesday that it has commenced the clinical trial for an experimental oral antiviral Covid-19 drug. The pill is expected to be used at the first sign of the illness. The multinational pharmaceutical company said the trial, called PF-07321332, is set to take place within the United States.
The drug attaches to an enzyme called a protease, preventing the virus from replicating. Protease inhibitors are utilized to treat other viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis C.
“Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic requires both prevention via vaccine and targeted treatment for those who contract the virus,” Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten, said in a press release. “Given the way that SARS-CoV-2 is mutating and the continued global impact of COVID-19, it appears likely that it will be critical to have access to therapeutic options both now and beyond the pandemic.”
The protease inhibitor is the second treatment the company has taken to human trials in order to treat Covid-19. Furthermore, Pfizer is testing another intravenously administered protease inhibitor, known as PF-07304814, in hospitalized virus patients.
The company’s vaccine is currently authorized in the U.S., however it continues to develop options as experts emphasize the need for more drugs to end the ongoing pandmeic. According to information gathered by Johns Hopkins University, there are currently 29.8 million infected Americans along with about 542,991 fatalities in just over a year.
Pfizer revealed the oral protease inhibitor shows “potent” antiviral activity against Covid-19. There is set to be more details provided regarding the drug on April 6 at the Spring American Chemical Society.