A pill to treat COVID? US pours $3 billion into crash antiviral research targeting year-end treatment

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Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

The Biden administration will invest more than $3 billion on developing and manufacturing antiviral pills to treat coronavirus, the Department of Health and Human Services said [June 17].

“New antivirals that prevent serious Covid-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Fauci said the funding could accelerate clinical trials “already in progress” for some antiviral pills and potentially make some of them available by year’s end. The oral antiviral medicines would be designed to be taken at home and to treat symptoms early in the course of infection.

Dr. Fauci said coronavirus vaccines “remain the centerpiece of our arsenal” in fighting the pandemic, but noted antiviral drugs would serve as an important complement in preventing severe illness and hospitalization.

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The funding includes more than $300 million for research and lab support, nearly $1 billion for preclinical and clinical evaluation, and nearly $700 million for development and manufacturing through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

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