Pfizer coronavirus vaccine approved for 12 to 15 year olds
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The simple pill is designed to be taken at home in the early stages of COVID-19 infection and it could be another big step forward in the fight against the virus. We have seen over the last months a variety of treatments for the virus, including the Oxford-AstraZena vaccine, created by British scientists. While vaccines are highly effective at reducing the risk of death or getting seriously ill from contracting the virus, and things like ventilators can help to save lives to people who have been hospitalised, there is also a need for effective oral treatment.
There are currently a few pills being developed that are aimed at treating Covid, but Pfizer’s is the first one to reach advanced human trials.
The drugmaker plans to trail the drug on 1,140 adults infected with the virus who are not considered to be high risk and are unlikely to suffer from serious illness or death if they catch COVID-19.
The pill, which is technically called PF-07321332, is in a category of antiviral agents called protease inhibitors.
Proteases are enzymes that are used for viral replication and protease inhibitors have been developed in the past to treat deadly diseases like and hepatitis C and HIV/AIDs.
Pfizer said in a statement: “Protease inhibitors, like PF-07321332, are designed to block the activity of the main protease enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate.
“Co-administration with a low dose of ritonavir is expected to help slow the metabolism, or breakdown, of PF-07321332 in order for it to remain in the body for longer periods of time at higher concentrations, thereby working continuously to help combat the virus.
“Ritonavir has previously been used in combination with other antivirals to similarly inhibit metabolism.”
Martin J. Blaser, director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers University, also hailed the breakthrough.
He said: “The hope is that the Pfizer drug and ritonavir together will sufficiently inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 protease to slow down the virus enough that [the] host’s immune defences will overcome and eliminate it.”
The trial will be what’s known as a double-blind trial.
This is where patients will either get the PF-07321332/ritonavir combination or be given a placebo every 12 hours, for a period of five days.
The first participants have already been dosed in a large Phase 2/3 trial testing of the treatment, which is designed to alleviate the symptoms of the virus.
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The first trial started in July, and the second trial started at the end of August.
The first trial, which is focusing on the prevention of hospitalisation and death, differs from the second in that the second only looks at the effect it has on individuals who are high risk.
Pfizer is expecting their first results by the end of this year.
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