Pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer is in mid-to-late stage trials to test an oral drug designed to fight the Wuhan coronavirus, the company announced Monday.
In a statement released by Pfizer, the company announced antiviral candidate PF-07321332, the drug that would be used to treat the virus. “Results from the Phase 1 clinical trial demonstrated that PF-07321332 was safe and well tolerated,” the announcement reads. Currently, the company is in Phase 2/3 EPIC-PEP (Evaluation of Protease Inhibition for COVID-19 in Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), which is being tested on adults 18 and older who live in a household with another person with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
“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,” Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical of Pfizer said in a statement. “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.”
According to the news release, PF-07321332 is designed to be administered orally and meant to be prescribed at the first sign of infection. It is a “protease inhibitor,” designed to block the activity of the main protease enzyme that COVID-19 needs to replicate. If the drug is co-administered with a low dose of the drug ritonavir, it is expected to slow the metabolism of PF-07321332 in order for it to stay active in the body for longer periods of time at higher concentrations to fight the virus.
“Given the continued emergence and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants and their immense impact, we continue to work diligently to develop and study new ways that our investigational oral antiviral candidate could potentially lower the impact of COVID-19, not only on patients’ lives, but also the lives of their families and household members,” Dolsten said in a statement.
Today, Pfizer reportedly submitted data regarding their COVID-19 vaccine to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) to attain Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. As of right now, Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has received the FDA’s full and final approval for eligible adults.