Biden Administration Infuses $3.2 Billion Into Antiviral Development
A new federal program aims to speed up the development and manufacturing of medicines to manage viruses. A pill to treat covid, which could be taken at home and in early stages of the disease, is targeted for the end of the year.
The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. To Invest More Than $3 Billion In Covid-19 Antiviral Development
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 Thursday. “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, chief medical adviser to President Biden and the nation’s top infectious-disease expert. (Siddiqui, 6/17)
US To Spend $3.2B On Treatments For COVID-19, Other Viruses
The new program will invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for COVID-19 but also would work to come up with treatments for other viruses, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. He announced the investment Thursday at a White House briefing. “There are few treatments that exist for many of the viruses that have pandemic potential,” he said, including Ebola, dengue, West Nile and Middle East respiratory syndrome. But he added, “vaccines clearly remain the centerpiece of our arsenal. (Miller and Perrone, 6/17)
The New York Times:
A Pill To Treat Covid-19? The U.S. Is Betting On It.
The U.S. government spent more than $18 billion last year funding drugmakers to make a Covid vaccine, an effort that led to at least five highly effective shots in record time. Now it’s pouring more than $3 billion on a neglected area of research: developing pills to fight the virus early in the course of infection, potentially saving many lives in the years to come. The new program, announced on Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services, will speed up the clinical trials of a few promising drug candidates. If all goes well, some of those first pills could be ready by the end of the year. The Antiviral Program for Pandemics will also support research on entirely new drugs — not just for the coronavirus, but for viruses that could cause future pandemics. (Zimmer, 6/17)
In other covid pharmaceutical development news —
CureVac’s Flop Shows Pfizer, Moderna Made MRNA Look Too Easy
The rapid development and remarkable efficacy of Covid-19 shots from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. created sky-high expectations for the novel technology they employ. CureVac NV’s vaccine disappointment shows that not every messenger-RNA project will live up to hopes. The German biotech firm made some crucial choices that set its candidate apart. Although the trial results it published earlier this week aren’t directly comparable, and the proliferation of viral variants has complicated studies since the other shots were tested last year, experts say key differences between the vaccines probably played a major role in CureVac’s weak results. (Loh and Kresge, 6/18)
Covid: Pfizer CEO Sees A Return To 'Normal' Globally By The End Of 2022
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC on Wednesday he expects life could return to normal for developed countries by the end of this year and the rest of the world by the end of 2022. By the end of next year, there should be enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for most world leaders to successfully inoculate their populations against the virus, Bourla said during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the CNBC Evolve Global Summit. (Lovelace Jr., 6/16)