US to Spend $3.2B on Developing Antiviral COVID-19 Pills

Headline Roundup June 18th, 2021

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Thursday that the U.S. will spend $3.2 billion on developing antiviral pills to treat COVID-19. The program, titled The Antiviral Program for Pandemics, will enhance current clinical trials of several potential COVID-19 treatments, with the goal of gaining FDA approval for at least one in the next year. Funding will come from President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan. Once approved, the medicine would be available over-the-counter to treat COVID-19 symptoms; the treatments could be especially key for immunocompromised people, who, even if they've received a vaccine, are unlikely to have full protection compared to healthy people.

The news was similarly covered across the spectrum. Some coverage from left-rated sources pointed out that the Trump administration spent a lot of resources on COVID-19 vaccine development, but not as much on developing treatments. Reports from left-rated outlets were more likely to attribute the investment announcement to "the Biden administration," rather than to "the U.S." or "HHS."

From the Left

The U.S. government spent more than $18 billion last year funding drugmakers to make a Covid vaccine, an effort that led to at least five highly effective shots in record time. Now it’s pouring more than $3 billion on a neglected area of research: developing pills to fight the virus early in the course of infection, potentially saving many lives in the years to come.

The new program, announced on Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services, will speed up the clinical trials of a few promising drug candidates. If...

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From the Center

The Biden administration will invest $3.2 billion to foster the development of antiviral pills to help fight against COVID-19, the Health and Human Services department announced Thursday, with hopes the medication becomes available to the public as soon as the end of this year.

The big picture: Researchers had tested existing antivirals like remdesivir in hospitals on patients with severe COVID-19, but they produced underwhelming results and little to no benefit.

The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency authorization for three monoclonal antibody drug treatment for early COVID infections.

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From the Right

The US will invest more than $3 billion to advance the development of antiviral pills for COVID-19 and other pathogens to prepare for future pandemics, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert announced the $3.2 billion investment as part of a new “antiviral program for pandemics” to develop drugs to address symptoms caused by potentially dangerous viruses.

“It’s a whole-of-government effort aimed at developing the next generation of COVID-19 treatments, as well as preparing us for future threats,” Fauci said at the White House’s coronavirus press...

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