First Patient Gets Dose in Pfizer's Oral COVID-19 Drug Trial "If successful, we believe this therapy could help reduce severity of illness among a broad population of patients," Rod MacKenzie, Pfizer's chief development officer, said in a statement.
This story originally appeared on The Epoch Times
The phase 2/3 study is analyzing a protease inhibitor currently known as PF-07321332. The drug is meant to combat COVID-19 in patients who experience symptoms from the disease but do not require hospital care.
The randomized, double-blind trial will enroll about 1,140 participants, approximately half of whom will receive a placebo. The participants will get the drug or the placebo every 12 hours orally for five days.
People who get the drug will also receive ritonavir.
"If successful, we believe this therapy could help reduce severity of illness among a broad population of patients," Rod MacKenzie, Pfizer's chief development officer, said in a statement.
The company already started a separate trial that's testing a different protease inhibitor. That one is administered via IV.
Inhibitors are a type of medicine that stop viruses from replicating.
No antiviral pills against COVID-19 have yet been developed. The IV-administered remdesivir, produced by Gilead Sciences, was approved by U.S. drug regulators last year.
Other companies are also attempting to produce the medicines, including Merck and Roche.
Merck already started a late-stage trial analyzing its pill candidate, dubbed molnupiravir. Interim results from a phase 2 trial for Roche's pill, AT-527, showed promising results, Roche and its partner Atea Pharmaceuticals said in July.
Pfizer has said that if its trial shows PF-07321332 is safe and effective, then it could ask regulators for authorization in the fourth quarter of this year.
By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.