(NewsNation Now) — The race is on to develop a treatment for COVID-19.
Through the pandemic, researchers have struggled to find effective, easy-to-use drugs to treat the virus.
The best medicines out for early treatment are cumbersome to administer, and the drugs used for hospitalized patients are often not enough for those already severely ill.
Pharmaceutical companies are now eyeing pills as a solution, mimicking Tamiflu’s use for influenza.
“We believe an antiviral pill, one that actually acts to reduce the virus in the body is the best option for people who have been exposed to the virus and gotten sick,” Dr. Wendy Palmer, chief medical officer at Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, told NewsNation.
Last year the company licensed a potential COVID-19 pill from Emory University, did early clinical trials and then sold it to Merck. It is now in later stage trials.
Recipients would take two pills per day for five days.
Pfizer, known for developing the first COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use, says it’s also in its final stages of trials.
The drugmaker says its twice-daily treatment could roll out by the end of the year if the FDA gives the green light on emergency use authorization.
Trailing behind is Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi. It’s developing a once-a-day tablet meant to neutralize the virus in patients. Reps there say they’re in the early stages of human trials.
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