Biden administration to buy Pfizer antiviral pills for 10 million people, hoping to transform COVID-19 pandemic
The Biden administration is planning to purchase 10 million courses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pill, a $5 billion investment in a treatment that officials think will help change the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic by reducing severe illness and deaths, according to two people with knowledge of the transaction.
Interestingly, Pfizer’s pill uses an experimental molecule to block an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to make copies of itself. The Pfizer molecule must be given in combination with ritonavir, an antiviral drug used to treat HIV that helps slow the molecule’s breakdown.
Health experts welcomed the new treatments, while emphasizing that vaccination remains the most effective way to curb the pandemic. Vaccines prevent illness, not just treat it, they noted.