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Pfizer CEO Bourla Says COVID-19 Pill Treatment Could Be Available by End of Year

The drug belongs to a class of medicines called protease inhibitors, similar to treatments used for other viral pathogens, like HIV and hepatitis C.

Video source: YouTube, CNBC Television

Pfizer Inc’s (NYSE: PFE) experimental oral drug to treat COVID-19 could be available by the end of 2021, according to the pharmaceutical company’s chairman and chief executive officer Dr. Albert Bourla.

The drug, for which Pfizer began early-stage clinical trials in March, belongs to a class of medicines called protease inhibitors, similar to treatments used for other viral pathogens, like HIV and hepatitis C, CNBC reported.

During an appearance Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Bourla said if the trials are successful, the drug could be available nationwide by year’s end, pending authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.

“If all goes well, and we implement the same speed that we are, and if regulators do the same … I hope that by the end of the year [it will be available for use],” said Bourla —noting that an orally administered drug that could be taken at home, rather than at a hospital, and “could be a game-changer.”

Bourla also said the treatment is expected to be effective against variants of the virus that have emerged over the past few months.

Health experts say the drug could be given to newly infected people outside of hospitals early enough to prevent severe illnesses and hospitalizations, CNBC reported.

Pfizer, whose vaccine is one of three granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA, announced last month that it would seek authorization for its COVID-19 vaccination in children ages 12 to 15 after a clinical trial demonstrated 100 percent efficacy. 

On Tuesday, Bourla told CNBC he is “very optimistic” the FDA will approve the use of the shot in adolescents.

Pfizer, as well as Moderna Inc (Nasdaq: MRNA), recently began vaccine trials on the youngest age group yet – 6-month-old to 11-year-old children. According to ABC News, Pfizer’s study involves 5,000 children nationwide, and the company hopes to have results by the winter. 


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