Coronavirus updates: Drugmakers are looking to make a pill that could be taken when someone tests positive and halt the progression of the infection so its nothing but a bad cold. When it comes to a vaccine, while it could help in preventing an infection, but its not a cure. Moreover, for those who are immunosuppressed- a vaccine isn’t an option. So, are there any options in the market? Many companies are working on creating antivirals that can be taken orally, a pill that can easily be transported and have an advantage over existing treatments that are given intravenously. Read these Coronavirus updates, drugmakers are in their search for a coronavirus cure.
Right now, there is only one antiviral medicine on the market, Remdesivir, which FDA approved. And while it is also a poymerase inhibitor, just like Molnupiravir-that work by targeting an enzyme that viruses need to copy their genetic material-Remdesivir only reduce recovery time, that too by a small margin. It is also an intravenous drug, which means it can only administered to people those who are hospitalised, or have proper healthcare support.
Pfizer has also developed an oral drug PF-07321332 and is currently in Phase 1 of its human trials, after developing one of the most powerful vaccine against coronavirus. Pfizer is a little behind the other contenders, but that is because the science behind their medicine is different. Pfizer is using a class called “protease inhibitors”, which was specifically made to fight SARS-CoV-2. These enzymes cut long protein chains and then re-assemble them as part of viral replication.
So, with the focus being on oral medication, Roche and Atea have also entered the fray, with their own oral polymerase inhibitor, AT-527. A 1,400 patient trial is soon to be conducted and the drug is said to be “very potent in vitro”.
Molnupiravir, a drug being created by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, shows promising results. In its Phase 2 trials, early results show those who received the pill did not have any detectable virus by day 5 of infection. However, the numbers are too small to draw conclusions from, and their next step is a Phase 3 trial of 1,850 people soon.