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Pfizer has been working to develop an antiviral compound to treat the coronavirus as well as a vaccine to prevent infection and other therapies. The company announced Thursday that it would perform pre-clinical studies on its antiviral compound and that it was investing in preparation for a possible clinical study later this year.
Trump, speaking at the White House during a coronavirus task force news conference, said it’s “a promising new treatment that might prevent the virus from replicating.”
“They have great feelings for this particular therapy,” he said.
There are now 19 therapies and treatments being tested through the FDA’s coronavirus treatment acceleration program and another 26 in the “active planning” for clinical trials, according to the president.
“Trials for Gilead’s antiviral drug Remdesivir continue and the company has also expanded emergency use for new patients – getting good early results by the way,” he said.
Drugmakers have also been “ramping up production” of hydroxychloroquine, Trump said. He has pointed to the malaria treatment as a potential therapy for COVID-19.
Even as pharmaceutical companies rush to develop a coronavirus cure, a treatment likely won’t be reaching most patients anytime soon. Several drug makers who have shared timelines for production have said they don’t expect to have vaccines available until sometime in 2021.
In the meantime, there are more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases worldwide, including more than 454,000 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than 16,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S., and worldwide the virus has killed more than 94,000.