A Pill to Treat Covid-19? The U.S. Is Betting on It

Rachel

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Save as many lives as you can. The new proposal submitted for a new $3.2 billion program will support the development of antiviral pills expected to arrive later this year.

As we can see, the United States government is fighting hard to combat Covid-19. Last year, over $18 Billion was spent on funding for drug manufacturers to develop a vaccine for the virus. This effort resulted in at least 5 injections that were highly effective against the Coronavirus. Now it is investing more than $3 billion in a neglected area of research: developing pills to fight the virus early in infection, potentially saving many lives in the years to come.

The new program was announced on Thursday (6/17/2021) by the Department of Health and Human Services. It will accelerate the clinical testing of some promising drug candidates. If all goes well, some of the first pills could be ready by the end of the year. The Pandemic Antiviral Program will also support research into entirely new drugs - not only for the Coronavirus but also for viruses that may cause future pandemics.

Several other viruses, including influenza, HIV, and hepatitis C, can be treated with a simple pill. But despite more than a year of research, there is no such pill to treat someone with a coronavirus infection before it causes havoc, which becomes something of a concern. Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's program to accelerate Covid-19 research, has invested far more money in vaccine development than in treatments, a gap that this new program will try to fill.

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