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Covid: a specific drug against Coronavirus

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A specific drug against Covid-19. One more weapon, together with vaccines. And it would also be the first specific drug against Sars-Cov-2. Pfizer is once again launching the race to develop a new antiviral against the coronavirus. “After the initial promising preclinical data – the CEO wrote on Twitter, Albert Bourla – we are pleased to share the start of the administration in healthy adults “. This is the start of the phase 1 trial, the first step of a clinical trial that aims to evaluate the safety and tolerability of an antiviral against Sars-CoV-2. This phase is currently underway only in the United States: which is why no Italian patient can currently ask to be part of the trial.

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The compound, for the moment, has a code name: PF-07321332. It is a protease inhibitor, which in studies conducted on human cells in vitro has shown “a powerful activity“Against the pandemic coronavirus: this is what was reported by the pharmaceutical multinational, the first to cross the finish line with the development of the mRna vaccine also in use in our country (to protect over 80, healthcare personnel, guests of the RSA and all fragile patients ). Proteases are enzymes that break the bonds within proteins and serve to inactivate proteins or to allow immature proteins to acquire their final structure (and therefore their biological activity). Their inhibitors work by blocking the ability of these enzymes to “digest” proteins and can therefore be used to keep proteins in an inactive state. These are active ingredients already used in the treatment of other viral infections, such as HIV (the agent responsible for AIDS) and HCV (hepatitis C). To this class belong lopinavir and ritonavir, used in the treatment of AIDS and tested (unsuccessfully) at the beginning of the pandemic also against Sars-CoV-2.

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“Tackling the Covid-19 pandemic requires a double challenge: in terms of prevention, but also of treatment – he says Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s director of research and development – what we want to verify is whether PF-07321332 can mitigate the infection, if given at the first sign of infection and without waiting for people to need hospital treatment ”. This is one of the tracks taken by the company, which at the same time is also testing (also in phase 1) a protease inhibitor to be administered intravenously, but intended for hospitalized patients. “Together, the two antivirals have the potential to create a treatment paradigm that integrates vaccination in cases where the disease occurs,” Dolsten concludes.

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