Pfizer (PFE) said it had begun human safety testing of a new pill that could be used to treat COVID-19 when symptoms first occur.
The Phase 1 trial for oral antiviral clinical candidate PF-07321332 has demonstrated "potent" in-vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV02, the virus that causes COVID-19.
"Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic requires both prevention via vaccine and targeted treatment for those who contract the virus," said Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten at the New York health-care giant.
"Given the way that SARS-CoV-2 is mutating and the continued global impact of COVID-19, it appears likely that it will be critical to have access to therapeutic options both now and beyond the pandemic."
The preclinical data will be presented at a COVID-19 session of the Spring American Chemical Society meeting on April 6.
Pfizer is also developing an intravenous antiviral candidate as a potential novel treatment option for hospitalized patients.
"Together, the two have the potential to create an end-to-end treatment paradigm that complements vaccination in cases where disease still occurs," Dolsten said.
A letter to the New England Journal of Medicine detailed lab experiments that showed the Pfizer-BioNTech shot demonstrated “roughly equivalent” levels of neutralizing activity against the Brazil and U.K. strains compared with a version of the virus from early last year.
It also showed “robust but lower” activity against the South Africa variant.
Pfizer shares at last check were 1.3% lower at $35.55.