Official: US to spend $3B for antiviral pills for COVID-19

FILE - In this May 11, 2021, file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.  The United States is devoting more than $3 billion to advance development of antiviral pills for COVID-19, according to an official briefed on the matter.  The pills, which would be used to minimize symptoms after infection, are in development and could begin arriving by year's end, pending the completion of clinical trials.  (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this May 11, 2021, file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The United States is devoting more than $3 billion to advance development of antiviral pills for COVID-19, according to an official briefed on the matter. The pills, which would be used to minimize symptoms after infection, are in development and could begin arriving by year's end, pending the completion of clinical trials. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Photo via AP, File)

WASHINGTON – The United States is devoting $3.2 billion to advance development of antiviral pills for COVID-19, officials said Thursday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, announced the investment during a White House briefing as part of a new “antiviral program for pandemics” to develop drugs to address symptoms caused by potentially dangerous viruses like the coronavirus.

The pills, which would be used to minimize symptoms after infection, are in development and could begin arriving by year’s end, pending the completion of clinical trials.

Fauci said the new program would invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for COVID-19, but also work to innovate new therapies for other viruses.

“There are few treatments that exist for many of the viruses that have pandemic potential,” said Fauci.

But he added, “vaccines clearly remain the centerpiece of our arsenal.”

News of the administration’s plans for the pill was first reported Thursday by The New York Times.


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