Pfizer on Monday announced the launch of a large trial to test its investigational oral antiviral drug to prevent COVID-19 infection.
The trial will give participants the treatment, PF-07321332, paired with another medication to see if it prevents COVID-19 infection. The mid-to-late-stage study aims to enroll up to 2,660 healthy adult participants who live in the same household as a person with confirmed COVID-19. Study volunteers will be randomly assigned to either receive the experimental treatment or a placebo twice daily for five to 10 days.
“With the continued impact of COVID-19 around the world, we believe that tackling the virus will require effective treatments for people who contract, or have been exposed to, the virus, complementing the impact that vaccines have had in helping quell infections. If successful, we believe this therapy could help stop the virus early — before it has had a chance to replicate extensively – potentially preventing symptomatic disease in those who have been exposed and inhibiting the onset of infection in others,” said Dr. Mikael Dolsten, chief scientific officer of worldwide research, development and medical of Pfizer, in a statement.
Pfizer’s drug is designed to block the activity of an enzyme that the coronavirus needs in order to multiply. Participants who receive the drug will also take a low dose of ritonavir, a medication used in combination treatments for HIV infection.
The drugmaker is competing against Merck and Co Inc and Roche Holding AG to create an antiviral pill for COVID-19, Reuters reported.
The only approved antiviral COVID-19 treatment for use in the U.S. so far is Gilead Science’s drug remdesivir.