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Pfizer’s COVID-19 treatment pill may be available by end of the year, says CEO

By CHUCK SMITH Published Apr 28, 2021 4:06 pm

Pfizer has begun an early-stage clinical trial for a new antiviral oral drug to treat COVID-19. And if all goes well, it could be available and distributed in the United States by the end of the year.

This was said by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, April 27. CNBC reported last month that it has begun clinical trial for an experimental antiviral drug, a part of a class of medicines called protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors work by inhibiting the enzymes that a virus needs in human cells in order to replicate, and are used in other drugs that treat diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.

If "all goes well," and if the United States' Food and Drug Administration approves the drug, it should be available by the end of 2021, Bourla said.

Pfizer was the first company to develop, with Germany's BioNTech, the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the United States.

According to the Telegraph, clinical trials are currently being done in the United States and Belgium. The trial has up to 60 volunteers who are all “clean-living adults aged between 18 and 60,” the report said.

An at-home oral pill for COVID-19 will be a game-changer as this could mean people infected with the virus can use the drug, once it becomes available, instead of going to hospitals.

“The penetration of the vaccines right now and its availability is low. And the way I see this, it is a very big problem. Not only ethically, because it is unacceptable. But also because in a pandemic, you are as protected as your neighbor,” Bourla said

"If we're not able to provide solutions for Inda, if we're not able to provide solutions for Africa, they will be a pool where the variants will replicate… This is something that needs to be addressed."

Bourla also said they are confident Pfizer can produce 2.5 billion doses of its vaccine by year’s end.