Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration will invest $3.2 billion to foster the development of antiviral pills to help fight against COVID-19, the Health and Human Services department announced Thursday, with hopes the medication becomes available to the public as soon as the end of this year.

The big picture: Researchers had tested existing antivirals like remdesivir in hospitals on patients with severe COVID-19, but they produced underwhelming results and little to no benefit.

  • The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency authorization for three monoclonal antibody drug treatment for early COVID infections.

Why it matters: The newly announced program, called the Antiviral Program for Pandemics, looks to close the gap on financial investment and research directed toward COVID-19 treatments and antivirals.

  • The program will also support research on entirely new drugs that could help respond to future pandemics.
  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci told reporters at a briefing Thursday the government has a “great deal of optimism that this program will be as successful” as similar federally-funded projects for viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C.

What they're saying: “I wake up in the morning, I don’t feel very well, my sense of smell and taste go away, I get a sore throat,” Fauci told the New York Times. “I call up my doctor and I say, ‘I have COVID and I need a prescription.’”

Details: The funding, which comes from the American Rescue Plan, is aimed at speeding up the clinical trials of a few promising drug candidates.

  • More than $300 million will be reserved for research and lab support, nearly $1 billion for preclinical and clinical evaluation and nearly $700 million for development and manufacturing through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the agency said.

Noteworthy: The Biden administration announced last week it's buying about $1.2 billion worth of Merck's experimental COVID pills Molnupiravir.

  • The drug is taken every 12 hours for five days. It has not been approved, but appears to help newly diagnosed, non-hospitalized COVID patients.

Go deeper: Scientists hunt for antiviral drugs to fight COVID-19

Go deeper

Aug 3, 2021 - Health

Israel reinstates COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge

Elderly residents wait to receive their third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a medical center in Tel Aviv on Aug. 2. Photo: Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Israel announced Tuesday it will tighten public health measures due to surging in COVID-19 case numbers.

Driving the news: The latest restrictions come as Israel saw nearly 4,000 new daily cases reported on Tuesday, the highest count so far since the country began experiencing an uptick last month, the AP reports.

19 hours ago - Axios Tampa Bay

Florida counties hold off on adding more COVID testing despite Delta surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As COVID cases continue to rise in Florida, commercial care centers are busier than ever with an influx of patients seeking tests, WFLA reports.

State of play: TGH Urgent Care medical director Dr. Nicole Frommann told the station that clinics like hers are seeing a record number of patients who want tests, and she believes larger government testing sites need to open back up.

Greece's artistic swimming team to miss Olympics after COVID outbreak

Greece's Maria Alzigkouzi Kominea and Evangelia Papazogloun the Artistic Swimming Duet Free Routine Preliminary of the Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Aug. 2, 2021 in Japan. Photo" Clive Rose/Getty Images

Greece's entire 12-woman artistic swimming team is out of the Tokyo Olympic Games due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among the group.

Driving the news: Tokyo Games organizers confirmed Wednesday that five members of the Greek team had tested positive for the virus and that their teammates were considered close contacts.