Pfizer revealed on Wednesday that it had finally dosed its first patient participating in the Phase 2/3 study examining the efficacy of PF-07321332, an orally administered protease inhibitor antiviral designed to combat COVID-19.
The randomized, double-blind trial will enroll approximately 1,140 participants, who will receive PF07321332/ritonavir, or a placebo, orally every 12 hours for five days.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla weighed in via tweet:
Success against #COVID19 will likely require both vaccines & treatments. We’re pleased to share we’ve started a Phase 2/3 study of our oral antiviral candidate—specifically designed to combat SARS-CoV-2—in non-hospitalized, low-risk adults: https://t.co/su5VtfbWPX— AlbertBourla (@AlbertBourla) September 1, 2021
The drug is designed for patients who haven't been hospitalized, but who are symptomatic with COVID but at low risk of seeing it progress to severe disease. Right now, there are no officially approved COVID therapeutics, a fact that podcast host Joe Rogan alluded to in a video where he revealed his COVID diagnosis.
According to Pfizer's press release, PF-07321332 is a protease inhibitor, which means it hinders the activity of the main protease enzyme that the SARS-CoV-2 virus requires for replication.
This study is only one part of a development program that includes studies across the globe as authorities assess whether the drug is suitable for use in the broad population.
Even the vaccinated still need therapeutics because, as the public has learned, the vaccines aren't as effective as initially believed. Therefore, there will always be a need for a therapeutic that averts mild to moderate COVID from progressing.
Given the tremendous need for a COVID Therapeutic, and Pfizer's optimism surrounding the drug, the company has already started production of the medication even though it hasn't finished with the clinical trials.
Pfizer Is Now Developing A Twice-Per-Day COVID Pill That Must Be Taken Alongside Vaccines— The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) September 2, 2021
Pfizer is so confident the pill will be approved and likely mandated that it has started production before the end of clinical trials $PFE
To be sure, when it comes to a COVID therapeutic, the world has already been disappointed once. Gilead's remdesivir proved to be far less effective than some had expected.