An oral pill that can be taken at home to combat Covid-19 at the first signs of the illness could be available to the public by the end of 2021, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC on Tuesday. The antiviral treatment is also expected to be effective against variants of the virus.
Bourla explained that the company is testing two antivirals, one that is injected intravenously and another that is administered orally. The CEO said that Pfizer is focusing on the oral option because it “provides several advantages,” with the major benefit being avoiding a trip to the hospital or another healthcare provider to get the treatment.
Based on its formulation, the oral pill could be more effective against multiple variants.
“So, all good news,” said Bourla. “We are now progressing the studies and we will have more news around summer,” he said.
CNBC reported that researchers hope the medication will keep the disease from progressing and prevent hospital trips. Pfizer is still testing its vaccine in 6-month to 11-year-old children. This month the FDA expanded its vaccine authorization to adolescents ages 12 to 15 after the jab was found to be 100% effective in a study.
Vaccinating children will be crucial to ending this pandemic, according to public health officials and infectious disease experts.
If the FDA pushes through the approval and regulators work as fast as they did in getting the COVID-19 vaccines to market, then the oral pill could be available by the end of this year. Which markets to first launch and distribute the pill have not been reported.