New Pfizer Covid-19 treatment going through trials at the South Bend Clinic

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -Pfizer is working on a new drug that can help treat Covid symptoms after someone’s contracted the virus.

The South Bend Clinic is just one of dozens of healthcare systems across the country participating in the trial’s later stages.

No needles required, and it’s as easy as swallowing your daily multivitamin. The South Bend Clinic is testing out this new way of treating people infected with Covid.

“This is a very effective treatment for Covid. If you’re lower risk, it could keep it from progressing. If you’re at higher risk, it could prevent hospitalization or worse. So we’re very excited about this option because it is a very quick easy treatment. It’s much like the influenza treatment we use now which is called Tamiflu,” said South Bend Clinic Clinical Research Director Dr. Jim Harris.

The Pfizer pill is paired with a low dose of another drug called ritonavir, known for it’s role in combination treatments for HIV.

Together they work to block the virus’ ability to multiply in the body.

“These are well-known drugs. They’re not necessarily experimental. They’ve been out there for a long time but they’ve been shown to be very active against Covid when put together,” Dr. Harris said.

Dr. Harris says results from earlier phases of the trial back up that claim.

Those results also suggest the treatment could have minor side effects consistent with what some people experience after getting the vaccine.

“It’s the first and only option for oral therapy so I think it’s an exciting option for people who may be reluctant to consider IV therapy and want to do everything they possibly can to prevent hospitalization. Early results show it to be safe and effective and it has been tested. It’s not completely brand new, this is just a larger number of patients that would be enrolled,” he said.

If the trials are successful, Dr. Harris says this treatment could be available as soon as early 2022.

It’s important to note ritonavir is not recommended as a treatment meant for Covid on its own, which is why only a low dose is being combined with the Pfizer pill.

Naturally, they need patients to volunteer for the trial, roughly 100 of them.

Half will get the Pfizer treatment and the other half a placebo.

Eligible patients 18 and older must test positive and have symptoms for fewer than 5 days to participate in the trial so they can tell if it treats the symptoms.

Participants will take the remedy twice daily for five straight days.

They’ll follow up with six checkups over the next six months to monitor any side effects and take down the results.

To learn more, Dr. Harris says to call the South Bend Clinic and ask for their research department.

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