A pill to treat Covid-19? The United States is betting on it

The U.S. government spent more than $ 18 billion last year to fund drugmakers to make a Covid vaccine, an effort that has led to at least five highly effective injections in record time. Now he’s pouring over $ 3 billion into a neglected area of ​​research: develop pills to fight the virus early during the infection, potentially saving many lives in the years to come. According to a report: The new program, announced Thursday by the Department of Health and Social Services, will speed up clinical trials of a few promising drug candidates. If all goes well, some of those first pills could be ready by the end of the year. The antiviral program for pandemics will also support research into entirely new drugs – not just for the coronavirus, but for viruses that could cause future pandemics. A number of other viruses, including influenza, HIV and hepatitis C, can be treated with a simple pill. But despite more than a year of research, no such pill exists to treat someone infected with coronavirus before it wreaks havoc. Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s program to accelerate Covid-19 research, has invested significantly more money in developing vaccines than treatments, a gap the new program will attempt to fill.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the main funders of the program, said he looked forward to when Covid-19 patients could get hold of antiviral pills in a pharmacy as soon as they test positive. for the coronavirus or develop symptoms of Covid-19. “I wake up in the morning, I don’t feel very well, my smell and taste disappear, my throat is sore,” Dr Fauci said in an interview. “I call my doctor and I say, ‘I have Covid and I need a prescription. “” Dr. Fauci’s support for antiviral pills research stems from his own experience in the fight against AIDS three decades ago. In the 1990s, his institute conducted research that led to some of the first antiviral pills for HIV, “protease inhibitors” that block an essential viral protein and can keep the virus at bay for a lifetime.

A pill to treat Covid-19? The United States is betting on it

Source link A pill to treat Covid-19? The United States is betting on it

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