Nova Scotia Journal

As Omicron approaches, new COVID pills provide hope

Scientists Omicron approaches,

Key Takeaways:

  • Scientists have hoped for convenient options like these since the outbreak began: pills that can be guided by any doctor and picked up at a local drugstore.
  • The rush for COVID-19 pills began last year, during the early stages of the pandemic.

While the world is concerned that the omicron coronavirus variant will cause an increase in cases and weaken vaccines, drug developers have some good news: Two new COVID-19 pills are on their way, and they are expected to be effective against all versions of the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve molnupiravir, a pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. That decreases the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 by 30% if taken within 5 days of the onset of symptoms.

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Another antiviral pill developed by Pfizer maybe even more effective. An interim study found that if the drug was taken within five days of the onset of symptoms. It was 85 percent effective. The FDA could approve it by the end of the year.

new COVID-19 pills
new COVID-19 pills; Image from The New York Times

And these two pills could only be the beginning. With the threat of Omicron and other variants looming, scientists say we will need a drug arsenal to fight new foes. Significantly if those variants erode the protection of existing vaccines.

Researchers worldwide are developing new drugs from the ground up, precisely targeting weak points in the coronavirus’s molecular structure. Others are experimenting to see if pills work better together than on their own.

“Viruses are cunning creatures, and you have to stay ahead of them,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said. “I think it’s naive to believe that if you get one or two good drugs, you don’t need anymore not with a virus that has already killed 760,000 Americans.”

Researchers at pharmaceutical companies and academic labs tested thousands of existing drugs to see if any of them were effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

This strategy was a long shot, but if it worked, it would have resulted in an antiviral pill much faster than trying to develop an entirely new drug. Instead, there was a brutal wave of failures that followed.

Source: Indianexpress News

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