American pharmaceutical company Pfizer has initiated the Phase I trial of an anti-COVID-19 pill that could be given to patients showing early signs of illness. According to Pfizer, the pill could be used in the early treatment of COVID-19 disease and to address future coronavirus threats. Pfizer has said that the oral candidate PF-07321332 has shown positive signs in lab tests against SARS-CoV-2. Pfizer has said that the potential oral therapy will complement vaccines and could be used on patients who have been inoculated but become COVID-19 positive.
“Protease inhibitors bind to a viral enzyme (called a protease), preventing the virus from replicating in the cell. Protease inhibitors have been effective at treating other viral pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C virus, both alone and in combination with other antivirals. Currently marketed therapeutics that target viral proteases are not generally associated with toxicity and as such, this class of molecules may potentially provide well-tolerated treatments against COVID-19,” Pfizer said in a press release.
As per Pfizer, the Phase I trial of the potential oral candidate PF-07321332 is being conducted in the United States. The preclinical studies have demonstrated that the drug holds the potential to stop the virus from replicating and developing into a more serious infection. The structure of PF-07321332, together with the preclinical data, will be shared in a COVID-19 session of the Spring American Chemical Society meeting on April 6, Pfizer said.
Anti-COVID pills are not the only medicinal development taking place apart from vaccines. Earlier, a Vancouver-based pharmaceutical company had announced that its anti-COVID nasal spray has received manufacturing approval in Israel and New Zealand. SaNOtize Research & Development Corp. (SaNOtize) conducted a trial of its nasal spray in the United Kingdom, where it showed to have reduced the SARS-CoV-2 viral loads by more than 95% in infected participants within 24 hours.