US to spend $3.2 Billion on research for antiviral treatments

US to spend $3.2 Billion on research for antiviral treatments

US to spend $3.2 Billion on research for antiviral treatments

The United States is pouring $3.2 billion to speed development of antiviral pills to treat coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and other dangerous viruses that could turn into pandemics.

The new program will invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for Covid-19 but also would work to come up with treatments for other viruses, said Dr Anthony Fauci, US’ top infectious disease expert.

“There are few treatments that exist for many of the viruses that have pandemic potential. Vaccines clearly remain the centerpiece of our arsenal,” he said, including Ebola, dengue, West Nile and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

“There are few treatments that exist for many of the viruses that have pandemic potential. Vaccines clearly remain the centerpiece of our arsenal,” he said, including Ebola, dengue, West Nile and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

Last week, the U.S. said it would purchase 1.7 million doses of an experimental antiviral pill from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, if it is shown to be safe and effective. Results from a large study of the drug, molnupiravir, are expected this fall. Early research suggests the drug may reduce the risk of hospitalization if used shortly after infection by stopping the coronavirus from quickly reproducing. It did not benefit patients who were already hospitalized with severe disease.

Named the Antiviral Program for Pandemics, it “will respond to the urgent need for antivirals to treat Covid-19 by spurring the availability of medicines to prevent serious illness and save lives”, the release stated.