The United States is betting on anti-Covid pill. This is what is reported in an article in the New York Times, telling of a new $ 3.2 billion program through which the US government will support the development and study of certain drugs, specifically antiviral pills, which could arrive by the end of this year with the aim of saving lives and keeping people away from the risk of hospitalization.
The U.S. government, the NYT explains, has already spent more than $ 18 billion last year to fund drug makers with the goal of making a Covid vaccine, an effort that has led to at least five products. highly effective, made in record time. Efforts are now focusing on an as yet unexplored area of research: developing medicines to fight the virus in the early stages of infection, potentially saving many lives in the years to come.
The new research program, announced Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services, is expected to accelerate clinical trials of some promising drug candidates. If everything goes as the experts wish, some of them could also be ready by the end of 2021. Among other things, the program will also support research into completely new drugs, not only for the coronavirus, but for viruses that could cause other pandemics in the future.
In this sense, celebrated immunologist Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the first supporters of the program, said he was looking forward to people being able to pick up antiviral pills at the pharmacy, not as soon as they show the first symptoms at Covid. “I wake up in the morning, I don’t feel very well, my sense of smell and taste have gone away, I have a sore throat: I call my doctor and say: ‘I have Covid and I need a prescription'”, he said. during an interview.
At the start of the pandemic, the expert explained, researchers had begun testing existing antivirals in people hospitalized with severe forms of Covid-19. But many of these studies have shown no benefit from the antivirals themselves. Scientists now know that the best time to try to stop the coronavirus is in the early days of the disease, when the virus is replicating rapidly and the immune system has not yet put up a defense. And it is from this point that they started to work on future drugs against Covid.