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The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Source: Reuters
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  • Pfizer says it will start trials for an antiviral pill for those who have been exposed to COVID-19
  • The final stage of the trial will be tested on some two and a half thousand people over the age of 18 who have been closely exposed to the virus
  • Pfizer has developed two versions of the antiviral, one in the form of a pill and another in the form of an intravenous infusion

Major vaccine producer Pfizer says it will start trials for an antiviral pill for those who have been exposed to COVID-19.

The antiviral called PFreu-07321332 has been designed to be administered alongside ritonavir to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 protease that the virus needs to self-multiply.

Stage one trials began in March when the safety and tolerability of the drugs were tested on healthy adults.

Antiviral trials moved to the second of three stages in July. The first part of the second stage tested efficacy on adults with a COVID infection or a high risk of severe illness.

The second part of the second phase began in August with trials conducted on infected patients and those with a stand risk of severe illness. The third and final stage of human trials will begin soon.

The final stage of the trial will be tested on two and a half thousand people over the age of 18 who have been closely exposed to the virus.

Alongside being a global producer for the COVID vaccine, Pfizer has previously produced antivirals for HIV and hepatitis C.

Pfizer developed two versions of the antiviral, one in the form of a pill and another in the form of an intravenous infusion.

Gilead Sciences has the only approved anti-viral so far. Its version is a time heavy, costly and intravenous only option that requires medical assistance.

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