US-based multinational drugmaker Pfizer has confirmed a large-scale study is being conducted to test Pfizer’s oral antiviral drug for the prevention of COVID-19 infection.
Reuters reports that Pfizer and other pharmaceuticals, including American Merck & Co Inc and Swiss Roche Holding AG, have been racing to develop an easy-to-take antiviral pill for COVID-19.
The mid-to-late stage study will test Pfizer’s PF-07321331 drug in up to 2660 healthy adult participants aged 18 and older. The participants will take the drug and test its efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infection even as they live in the same household as a person with a confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 infection.
PF-07321332 is designed to block the activity of a key enzyme needed for the novel coronavirus to multiply and therefore spread. It will be administered along with a dose of ritonavir during the trial, which is an older medication that has been widely used in combination treatments for HIV infections.
Another study of PF-07321332 was started by Pfizer but in non-hospitalised symptomatic adult patients.
To date, the intravenous drug remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc is the only approved antiviral treatment for COVID-19 in the US. Another experimental drug, molnupiravir, is being tested by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics in a late-stage trial for the prevention of COVID-19 infection.
Molnupiraviis also being studied in no-hospitalised patients to see if it is able to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death.
Recently, Pfizer announced that its BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines had been shown to be “safe and generate a robust antibody response in children ages 5 to 11,” according to a statement by the drugmaker who had conducted a highly-anticipated trial to confirm the safety of the jabs in children.
2,268 participants aged 5 to 11 took part in the trial, which saw the use of a two-dose regimen of the vaccine administered 21 days apart. The trials use a 10-microgram dose which is notably smaller than the 30-microgram that has been used on children 12 and older.
Pfizer said the immunity levels compared well with older people who received the larger dose, demonstrating a “strong immune response in this cohort of children one month after the second dose.”