Single-pill treatment for COVID-19 could be available this year

Coronavirus

The Pfizer logo is seen at the Pfizer Inc. headquarters on December 9, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) — Drugmaker Pfizer is currently testing a single pill cure for COVID-19, and if all goes well, the drug could be available this year.

The drug, called PF-07321332, is currently in a Phase One clinical trial with healthy adults.

According to the Telegraph, the protease inhibitor may be available as soon as this year.

The pill was unveiled at the American Chemical Society Spring 2021 meeting in early April. The drug works by targeting the main protease of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. By inhibiting the protease, the drug prevents the virus from reproducing itself within the body.

Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief science officer, said in a press release that the pill could be prescribed “at the first sign of infection” without requiring critical care or hospitalization.

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

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

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