The Pfizer laboratories Friday announced the development of an experimental pill to treat COVID-19, which the pharmaceutical company claims cuts down the risk of hospitalization and death by 89% of people infected with the virus.
Pfizer Friday published preliminary results of the study it conducted with this drug on a total of 775 adults, which led to the conclusion that patients who took the company's drug along with another antiviral had an 89% reduction in their combined rate of hospitalization or subsequent death, compared to patients who took a placebo.
The results of this intermediate clinical trial are so encouraging that the US laboratory said it will stop recruiting new people for testing and will send the data over to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as soon as possible to obtain authorization for emergency use.
Today's news is a real game changer in global efforts to stem the devastation of this pandemic, said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.
These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved or licensed by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patients' lives, reduce the severity of covid-19 infections, and eliminate up to nine out of 10 hospitalizations. he added.
Pfizer began developing its anticovid drug in March 2020, the first specifically designed against coronavirus. The new drug is known as a protease inhibitor and has been shown in laboratory tests to block the replication machinery of the virus.
If it works, it is likely only effective in the early stages of infection, as by the time covid progresses to severe disease, the virus largely stops replicating and patients experience a more active immune response.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a simple pill has been sought to combat the coronavirus, but so far, anticovid therapies - such as monoclonal antibodies and Gilead's remdesivir, authorized for use in the EU under the name Veklury - have been intravenously.
Several laboratories are working on oral antivirals that would mimic the influenza drug Tamiflu and prevent the disease from progressing to serious stages.
The United Kingdom, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, became the first country to approve an anticovid pill on Thursday, giving the green light to the use of Merck's antiviral drug, molnupiravir, to treat patients suffering from mild to moderate coronavirus.