Could a pill be the simple solution everyone has been waiting for in the fight against COVID-19?
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC the pharmaceutical giant is testing out a new antiviral drug that works to keep COVID-19 from replicating in the body.
Dr. Davey Smith, the chief of infectious diseases and global public health at UC San Diego, said it’s not the one-fix solution everyone has been waiting for. He said a pill being researched renews hope that another item will be added to the fight against COVID-19, which he says will likely not be defeated with vaccines alone. If anything, the pill is another weapon to add to the arsenal.
“We’re gonna need treatments for people who are not vaccinated or people who the vaccine didn’t work for,” Smith told NBC 7.
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With the pill, the hope is to prevent people who have contracted COVID-19 from getting sicker.
“It's a protease inhibitor, and it's a drug that specifically blocks part of the virus's lifecycle,” Smith said.
While the news from Pfizer was welcomed by the medical community, Smith said that trials still need to be completed to determine who the drug is best suited for. Smith, who said it will not be an overnight process, said that, despite how easy it would be to have a pill to treat COVID-19, he doesn’t think it should be a replacement for vaccinations.
“I hope people will not view this as a substitute to get vaccinated," Smith said. "The best thing that we can do is have as many people as possible to be vaccinated so the virus stops circulating in our community."
NBC 7 spoke with John Frantz, who's worked as a nurse for decades in the health industry and is vaccinated. He said he doesn’t think the pill will be an option for those who don’t want to get vaccinated.
“Those who don't trust the science are not going to trust a pill," Frantz said. "That's my opinion."