Pfizer begins study of oral drug for COVID-19 prevention



Sept. 27 (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) announced Monday that it has launched a large study testing its experimental oral antiviral drug for the prevention of COVID-19 infection among those who have been exposed to the virus.

The drugmaker and rivals including U.S.-based Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) and Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding AG (ROG.S) rushed to develop an easy-to-administer antiviral pill for COVID-19 . Read more

The mid-to-late-stage study will test Pfizer’s drug, PF-07321332, in up to 2,660 healthy adult participants aged 18 years and older who live in the same household as an individual with symptomatic infection. confirmed to COVID-19.

In the trial, PF-07321332, designed to block the activity of a key enzyme required for the coronavirus to multiply, will be administered with a low dose of ritonavir, an older drug widely used in combination treatments for HIV infection.

The Pfizer logo is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustrative photo taken on March 16, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

To date, remdesivir, an intravenous drug from Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O), is the only antiviral treatment approved for COVID-19 in the United States.

Pfizer has also initiated another study of PF-07321332 in symptomatic outpatient adult patients.

Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics recently launched an advanced stage trial of their investigational drug molnupiravir for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. Read more

Molnupiravir is also being studied in an advanced trial in outpatients to see if it reduces the risk of hospitalization or death.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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