The Biden Administration announced on Thursday that a $3.2 billion plan will be established to build up the country’s supply of drugs to treat COVID-19 and future viral threats.
The plan is called, “The Antiviral Program for Pandemics” and its aim is to develop safe and effective antivirals to combat SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the website, it will also build sustainable platforms for targeted drug discovery and the development of antivirals against viruses with pandemic potential.
The pill will be effective because it will be available to be taken at home early in the course of infection, similar to antiviral treatment for seasonal influenza, which would save lives and prevent overwhelming surges in hospitalizations.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine was made available, many U.S. citizens still have not taken it. According to NBC News, only 52% of Americans over 12 are actually vaccinated. States with the most fully vaccinated citizens are in the Northeast, with the West and Mountain West having the fewest.
The Delta Variant, which forced the UK to delay lifting its remaining coronavirus restrictions has infected 10% of the United States population and seems to be spreading. Early symptoms are common amongst younger adults with symptoms of a headache, cold, sore throat, runny nose, and a fever.” If you are vaccinated, you are protected. If you are not, the threat is real and growing,” say’s Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General.
“Experts say we may be about to see the emergence of “two Americas” of COVID: One with high rates of vaccination where the Delta coronavirus variant poses little threat, and the other with low levels of vaccination that will be vulnerable to renewed deadly surges.”
“New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of the disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement. “Through multidisciplinary collaborations among 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 the extraordinary success we have seen in developing the COVID-19 vaccines.”
The Antiviral Plan will provide $300 million for research and laboratory support and nearly $1 billion for preclinical and clinical evaluation, nearly $700 million for development and manufacturing, and $1 billion to form groups called Antiviral Drug Discovery Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern to accelerate the creation of antiviral drugs.
White House COVID-19 response science director, Dr. David Kessler said that the Biden Administration is only adding to the strong agenda of vaccination in progress throughout the country.