(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pfizer logo is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration photo taken March 16, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
(Reuters) -Pfizer Inc said on Monday it has started a mid-to-late-stage study testing its investigational oral antiviral drug for the prevention of COVID-19 infection among those who have been exposed to the virus.
The company and its rivals, including U.S.-based Merck & Co Inc and Swiss pharmaceutical Roche Holding AG (OTC:RHHVF), have been racing to develop the first antiviral pill for COVID-19.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) said it would study the drug, PF-07321332, in up to 2,660 healthy adult participants aged 18 and older who live in the same household as an individual with a confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 infection.
The trial would test PF-07321332 with a low dose of ritonavir, an older medication widely used in combination treatments for HIV infection.
Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said earlier this month they had begun enrolling patients in a late-stage trial of their experimental drug molnupiravir for prevention of COVID-19 infection.
Pfizer had also said earlier this month it started a mid-to-late-stage trial of PF-07321332 for the treatment of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized, symptomatic adult patients.
Pfizer begins study of oral drug for prevention of COVID-19
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