Apr 27, 2021 - Health

Pfizer CEO: Oral drug to prevent COVID-19 could be ready next year

An oral antiviral drug to stop the virus that causes COVID-19 from replicating could be ready next year "if all goes right," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC on Tuesday, adding that the drug should work against all variants of the virus.

Why it matters: Antiviral drugs can be a key pandemic-fighting tool, since not everyone will get a vaccine and it may take years to fully vaccinate people in certain countries around the world, Axios' Alison Snyder reports.

Of note: So far, remdesivir — a drug investigated earlier to treat Ebola and other diseases — is the only antiviral approved in the U.S. for COVID-19.

What they're saying: Bourla said Pfizer is working on two antiviral drugs, one injectable and the other oral.

  • "Particularly, the attention is on the oral," Bourla said,"because it provides several advantages. One of them is you don't have to go to the hospital to get the treatment, which is the case with all of the injectables so far. You can get it at home. That would be a game-changer."
  • He said the antiviral drug should be "way more effective against multiple variants."

What's next: Bourla said the company would have more news about the drug around summer.

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