Not only will the Antiviral Program for Pandemics seek to boost the availability of medicines to prevent serious COVID-19 illness and save lives, but it will pursue sustainable discovery and development platforms that could produce antivirals against future viruses that threaten to spark pandemics.
The program is a collaboration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that includes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) — and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
“New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president and NIAID director, said in a news release.
“Through multidisciplinary collaborations among leading scientists in academia and industry, this investment from the American Rescue Plan to create the Antiviral Program for Pandemics will help inspire medical innovation and build on the extraordinary success we have seen in developing the COVID-19 vaccines,” Fauci said.
Antivirals are an important enough piece of the U.S. strategy against COVID-19 that the federal government recently agreed to pay $1.2 billion to procure approximately 1.7 million courses of Merck‘s molnupiravir. Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics collaborated on the development of molnupiravir.
Pfizer is also developing an oral antiviral targeting SARS-CoV-2 known as PF-07321332. The drug is currently the focus of a pair of Phase 1 studies.
Filed Under: Drug Delivery, RD