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United States Injects $3 Billion to Create Covid-19 Antiviral Tablet

United States Injects $3 Billion to Create Covid-19 Antiviral Tablet
Computer rendering of a pill capsule with enlarged coronavirus particles inside.

Despite previous failures, the US government plans to fund the development of an effective COVID-19 tablet.

Concerning the pandemic, it is widely known that the US government spent approximately $18 billion developing the coronavirus vaccine. Effective alternatives were developed in record time, assisting in the fight against the pandemic’s effects. The country is now embarking on a new project: developing a pill against COVID-19.

covid-19 pill
SARANSK, RUSSIA – OCTOBER 6, 2020: A worker loads the components necessary to produce a tablet mass into dry granulators at the Biokhimik pharmaceutical plant where the Areplivir drug developed by Promomed for COVID-19 treatment is produced, in Saransk, capital of Mordovia. Founded in 1959, Biokhimic specialises in manufacturing different groups of antibiotics, including penicillins, cephalosporins, carbapenems, aminoglycosides. Areplivir was registered by the Russian Healthcare Ministry on June 23, 2020, being the second Russian-made drug based on fapiravir, a synthetic medication earlier used to treat rare viral infections, including Ebola virus, along with complicated influenza diseases. Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS (Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images)

The budget that the United States will allocate to the project to create a pill against COVID-19 is up to $3 billion. In comparison, this represents only one-sixth of the total amount spent on the vaccine. According to The New York Times, the scientists in charge of the study are confident that this could be an effective way to “save many lives in the coming years.”

If everything goes as planned, the drug could be ready by the end of 2021, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency will work closely with the Pandemic Antiviral Program, which will oversee the development of this new drug and others that could prevent future pandemics.

HIV, influenza and hepatitis C are some of the diseases that can be treated with these new pills. Project leader Anthony Fauci expressed his excitement that the drug could begin to save positive COVID-19 patients. According to experts, they hope that very soon it’ll be available in pharmacies as antiviral drug, which could stop the disease in its early stages.

A long-term solution

ovid-19 coronavirus pill
A medical staff treats a Covid-19 coronavirus patient at a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) ward in Bogor on June 18, 2021, as Indonesia’s Covid-19 coronavirus infection rate soars. (Photo by ADITYA AJI / AFP)

Dr. Fauci spent 30 years trying to find a way to prevent HIV infections. He has devoted his professional career since the 1990s to developing and implementing such a drug. As a result, he believes that similar situations could arise in the near future:

“When I wake up in the morning, I don’t feel very well; my sense of smell and taste are gone, and my throat hurts,” Dr. Fauci said in an interview. “I called my doctor and told him I have Covid and need a prescription.”

These drugs, according to the expert, act as “protease inhibitors,” preventing the action of an essential viral protein. They ensure that the virus does not multiply in the human body and that the damage caused by the infection is minimized.

While this is not the first attempt at a COVID-19 cure, scientists believe it will be a worthwhile investment. “It could help with this pandemic and potentially be a first line of defense for the next one,” said Harvard Medical School’s director of therapeutic adaptation, Mark Namchuk. As a result, it is regarded as a long-term solution.

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