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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.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Apr 26, 2021 - World

U.S. to share AstraZeneca vaccine stockpile with the world

Biden during a meeting with other leaders from the "Quad." Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. will begin sharing its full inventory of AstraZeneca vaccine doses with countries around the world once an FDA safety review is complete, AP reports.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had been under intense global pressure for refusing to share its stockpile of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is critical to vaccine rollouts in countries like India but not approved for use in the U.S. Per AP, the administration now expects to be able to share around 60 million doses in the coming months.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Apr 26, 2021 - World

Biden's move to share vaccine doses could be a global game changer

Data: Airfinity; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Biden administration took its biggest step yet toward becoming a global supplier of coronavirus vaccines, announcing that it would export 60 million AstraZeneca doses over the next several weeks.

Why it matters: President Biden has been under intense global scrutiny for his "Americans first" approach. Alone among the four major producers, the U.S. has kept nearly its entire supply up to now.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 27, 2021 - Health

Political leanings sway seniors' vaccine enthusiasm

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Seniors are more enthusiastic about the coronavirus vaccines than younger Americans, but even that high-risk population is still subject to some partisan divides, according to Axios-Ipsos polling over the last several months.

The big picture: In the most recent waves of our Axios-Ipsos survey, 85% of seniors said they had already been vaccinated, or were likely to get vaccinated.