This piece of news might be exactly what we need to be closer to the end of the pandemic. A Japanese company has just started human trials for its pill meant for COVID-19 patients. The company is now in the same race as Merck & Co and Pfizer.
Shionogi & Co is known for developing the cholesterol drug Crestor. They now come with something new and, hopefully, a change into our lives right now: a pill to help COVID-19 patients. The trial will continue until next year.
Of course, the company has a lot of work to do since Merck and Pfizer are more advanced in their tests for treating COVID-19. Pfizer is confident that its pill – which should be taken twice a day – will be ready by the end of the year. They are ready to get more than 2000 patients in a test for the pill. They will also be using a placebo.
Vaccines are really helpful, especially against the Delta strain. But as people don’t want to get vaccinated, the future is uncertain.
The purpose of the trial is to create a pill for patients to get home when their symptoms are mild. We already have that for influenza, even though they don’t really work for all patients.
Isao Teshirogi, the chief executive officer from Shionogi, stated that the target of their research is a safe oral compound, like Tamiflu or Xofluza. The pill would be able to neutralize the virus in 5 days. The trial will enroll up to 100 healthy people. The trial that will have both the drug and the placebo will start later this year.
The problem is that the failure rate for this kind of trial is usually very high. Any side effect now could stop it all and prevent people from taking the pill from their homes.