The downfall of COVID-19 lies in new generation anti-viral drugs, says WHO
pharmafile | January 28, 2022 | News story | Medical Communications |
In a BBC News interview, WHO shared their views against easing pandemic restrictions, as new variants flare up anywhere until there is a permanent cure. Even the mass deployment of vaccines and regular testing is not enough to stop coronaviruses or flu variants constantly mutating and reinventing themselves.
As the COVID-19 storm appears to fade – governments, scientists, and authorities like WHO face a difficult balancing act: managing the expectations of their people, businesses, and economies, all while guarding against another variant.
Established companies, such as Merck and Pfizer, already have anti-viral products available claiming to create a long-term solution to the pandemic. However, a recent major report from Nano Magazine suggested that these were repurposed drugs from prior programmes, and required frequent re-dosage: eight times per day for Merck’s drug Molnupiravir and four doses per day for Pfizer’s Paxlovid, as it must also be taken with an HIV drug.
Historical parallels have also been drawn with outbreaks such as the Spanish Flu (1918-20), when the initial death toll was relatively contained, leading many to believe that the worst was over. However, that virus then mutated into its most deadly strain, which killed 50 million people. WHO has warned against repeating the same mistakes, and underestimating the risk of COVID-19.
Paul Sheedy, a founding partner at Enabling Tech Capital – an international investment company that supports life sciences and drug delivery – said: “Drug development and delivery has seen record investment since COVID-19, but the pharma industry’s finance strategy on innovation tends to favour re-purposing old models and candidates.
“Fortunately, we are now seeing new methods of computational drug development and intend to support companies using this to deliver solutions for future healthcare and pandemic protection. These smaller and nimbler drug development companies are using innovative AI and nanoscale platform technologies, which don’t always get the same attention or funding yet are more able to transform how we deal with viruses.
“Oral delivery means that they are also easily distributed away from the established and centralised healthcare infrastructure, which the pandemic has shown as inefficient, counter-intuitive, and likely to concentrate infection, all issues that expert critics have voiced for decades but are now laid bare to everyone.”