Pfizer has begun an early stage clinical trial in the US of an experimental oral antiviral drug for Covid-19, CNBC reports.
The drug is part of a class of medicines called protease inhibitors that is also used to treat HIV and hepatitis C.
“Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic requires both prevention via vaccine and targeted treatment for those who contract the virus,” Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten, said in a press release.
Dolsten explained that because of the SARS-CoV-2 mutation and its continued global impact, it will be critical to have access to therapeutic options both now and beyond the pandemic.
Because it is taken orally, the distribution of the new drug will be much easier, faster and safer.
Pfizer is also working on an intravenously administered protease inhibitor, which is currently in a phase 1b clinical trial in hospitalized Covid-19 patients, CNBC says.
Pfizer promises to provide more details at the Spring American Chemical Society meeting on April 6.