Pfizer anti-COVID-19 pill could be available this year

Pfizer anti-COVID-19 pill could be available this year
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An anti-COVID pill is being trialled on humans, and if the experiment is successful, it could be a possible alternative treatment method, UK media reports. 

The experimental tablet from Pfizer could end lockdowns and become the first consumable, at-home drug available that prevents people from developing COVID-19. 

As many as 60 volunteers, aged between 18 and 60, are taking part in the trials at secret Pfizer buildings in the US and Belgium. They will be given the first pill designed to stop COVID-19, The Telegraph reported. 

The drug works by targeting the main protease of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

It is hoped the antiviral drug called PF-07321332, which prevents the virus from reproducing in the nose, throat, and lungs, will help stop severe illness. 

Protease inhibitors are currently used to treat HIV around the world. 

King's College London professor Penny Ward told The Telegraph if the trial meets this goal, scientists would be 'quietly optimistic'.

Ward said the second phase will include multiple doses and the third will look into the influence of eating food at the same time. 

The trial will be split into three phases and spread over 145 days, with an extra 28 days added on the end for 'screening and dosing'. It will require participants to stay overnight for several days, according to a report cited by the outlet about the trial. 

Pfizer's chief science officer Mikael Dolsten said in a press release the pill could be prescribed at the first sign of infection without requiring critical care or being hospitalised, WGN-9 reported. 

"For the foreseeable future, we will expect to see continued outbreaks of COVID-19," Pfizer's head of medicine design Charlotte Allerton told C&EN. "And therefore, as with all viral pandemics, it's important we have a full toolbox on how to address it.” 

This comes after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the formation of a UK Antivirals Taskforce on April 21 that aims to invest in products like the PF-07321332 pill.