Pfizer testing a home-cure pill for a virus that has, in the past year, infected at least 149 million people worldwide.
The pill could be ready by the end of the year. By then, people who test positive for COVID-19 could simply just swallow a pill at home to treat their symptoms, according to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.
Currently, the pill is in the middle of an early-stage clinical trial that is testing an antiviral therapy pill, administered orally, for the disease.
Bourla said on the CNBC television show Squawk Box, if the pill is successful and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drug could be distributed across the U.S. by the end of the year 2021.
It is worth noting that the pill could become the first home cure for a virus that has, in the past year, infected more than 149 million people worldwide and left at least three million dead.
Health experts are hopeful that the pill could treat people newly infected with the virus and save them the cost of hospital trips and treatment.
The drug contains an antiviral code called PF-07321332. Classified as a ‘protease inhibitor’, the code is designed to inhibit the ‘spine’ of the virus cell and prevent it from replicating in human cells.
The clinical trial has been scheduled to run for approximately five months, divided into three phases. Participants are healthy and clean-living and aged 18 to 60.
Phase 1 of the trial will test how well the drug is tolerated, if the dose quantities are increased, or taken alone or with ritonavir.
Phase 2 will test the same but with multiple doses, while Phase 3 will test tablet and liquid forms of the drug as well as the effect of eating after taking the drug.
Formal Phase 3 trials will also test whether the drug works against people who have been exposed to the virus.