The Potential of Antivirals
Does the secret to an effective COVID-19 treatment lie in a protease inhibitor?
At Pfizer, we are evaluating an antiviral compound – a protease inhibitor identified by Pfizer scientists in 2003 – as a treatment for COVID-19. We believe this potential treatment, which interrupts the virus’ ability to multiply, could be a first-in-class opportunity to help treat COVID-19 patients. Today, there are no FDA approved antiviral treatments for COVID-19 patients.
Success against COVID-19 will likely require effective antiviral treatments for patients with the disease, and speed is of the essence as we work to attempt to lower the impact of COVID-19 on patients’ lives.
When COVID-19 emerged, we evaluated our robust portfolio of therapeutics and screened some of the compounds from our legacy SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) protease inhibitor pre-clinical program with the hopes of identifying a compound that could potentially be used to treat COVID-19 and/or its symptoms. SARS is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, which is part of the same family of viruses that cause COVID-19. Specifically, SARS-CoV-1 causes SARS while SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.
One of the most promising compounds identified was a compound with antiviral activity, specifically a compound which slows or potentially stops a virus from replicating. The identified compound is a protease inhibitor, and it appears to be work best at inhibiting the proteases produced by coronaviruses. It is hoped that may help reduce the symptoms associated with COVID-19 and the risk of significant health complications for patients.
Developing potential COVID-19 treatments is only possible through the dedicated work of our research partners and individuals who volunteer to take part in clinical trials. We are grateful to each of the 9 clinical trial investigators and their study teams who are partnering with us in this effort and to all of the participants who have volunteered, and will volunteer, to help make a difference for society.
We continue to be committed to diversity in our clinical trial and ensuring that individuals from communities that have been most affected by COVID-19 have the opportunity to participate.