COVID Pill Treatment Could be Available by End of Year

Pills used to treat COVID-19 symptoms after infection could be available by the end of the year, U.S. health officials announced Thursday.

A new program was announced by the Department of Health and Human Services known as the Antiviral Program for Pandemics. The program will help speed up clinical trials of potential drugs that can be used to treat COVID-19 symptoms.

Should the drugs be approved in the clinical trials, they may start to be available by the end of the year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci hopes for the drugs to be used when COVID patients first test positive for the virus or develop symptoms.

"I wake up in the morning, I don't feel very well, my sense of smell and taste go away, I get a sore throat," Fauci said in an interview. "I call up my doctor and I say, 'I have Covid and I need a prescription.'"

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Prescription
Dr. Anthony Fauci hopes COVID-19 patients will be able to call their doctor and receive a prescription to manage symptoms. The drugs may be available later this year, pending trials. Getty Images

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

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.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
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, D.C. 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