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Clinical trials for COVID-19 prevention pill underway in Tucson

Researchers studying whether pill could potentially stop you from getting COVID-19.
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:41 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Researchers in Tucson are studying whether a pill could potentially stop you from getting COVID-19.

Dr. Anita Kohli, director of clinical research at Arizona Clinical Trials, said four trials are underway. She said a COVID-19 antiviral would be easily accessible and a gamechanger for the fight against COVID-19.

“These medicines would be easy to store, easy to distribute, things you could pick up from your local pharmacy as opposed to IV medicines, subcutaneous injections, so just much easier,” Kohli said.

Researchers are also working in Mesa.

Kohli said patients who have been exposed to or have COVID are the focus of the study. Researchers are looking into whether antiviral medications can help COVID-19 patients get better quicker and keep them out of the hospital.

“The molnupiravir antibodies, some of them already have emergency use authorization for COVID, so those are already available for emergency use in the hospital,” Kohli said. “So those are already available in some of the emergency rooms as well as in our office for the treatment of COVID. Those have already shown reducing rate of symptoms, hospitalization and death but that’s only available by IV or subcutaneously.”

You’re able to participate if you have been exposed to COVID-19 within the past five days or if someone you’re living with has tested positive within the past three days. You must be unvaccinated, and those individuals are later administered medicine or a placebo.

Kohli said they’re hopeful the trial will only last about nine months but says time will tell.

“Some of the molnupiravir antibodies that were studied last summer, already had emergency use authorization by the spring. So in nine months, we went from the early stages of the trials to emergency use,” Kohli said. “That essentially never happens in emergency medicine, so we’re hoping this will be as quick as that was.”

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