WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Thursday announced a $ 3.2 billion plan to boost the country’s supply of drugs that can be used to treat Covid-19 and future viral threats.
The plan, called the antiviral program for pandemics, will boost clinical trials and the manufacture of promising treatments for Covid-19, with the goal of obtaining FDA clearance for certain antivirals and making them available to the public here. a year, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
Effective antiviral drugs could be taken at home, preventing an increase in hospitalizations and leading to fewer deaths, the department said. The effort, which will also include research into other viruses with pandemic potential, will be funded by the US bailout, he said.
“New antivirals that prevent serious illness and death from Covid-19, especially oral medications that could be taken at home at the onset of the disease, would be powerful tools to fight the pandemic and save lives,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement.
“Through multidisciplinary collaborations between leading scientists in academia and industry, this investment from the American Rescue Plan to create the antiviral program for pandemics will help inspire medical innovation and build on success. extraordinary experience that we have experienced in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, ”he said. mentionned.
During a press briefing Thursday, Fauci said few treatments exist for many viruses that have “pandemic potential.” Vaccines continue to be the centerpiece of the Covid-19 strategy, but antivirals are an “important addition” to existing vaccines, especially for people with certain health conditions that make injections Covid- 19 less effective, he said..
Antiviral treatments would also add an “additional line of defense against other unexpected emerging elements such as worrisome variants,” Fauci said.
The plan provides $ 300 million for research and laboratory support, nearly $ 1 billion for preclinical and clinical evaluation, nearly $ 700 million for development and manufacturing, and $ 1 billion for training groups, called Antiviral Drug Discovery Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern, to accelerate the creation of antiviral drugs.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 600,000 people have died in the United States from Covid-19.