COVID-19 pills in development, could be game changers in pandemic

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 1:17 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld says three new COVID-19 antivirals are in the final phase of testing and could be ready by the end of the year.

According the Dr. Threlkeld, anitvirals must go through three phases of testing:

  • Phase One - Looks at safety of different doses
  • Phase Two - Looks at larger test groups and efficacy
  • Phase Three - Looks at the largest test trials and breaks down different groups, such as age, race and gender

Dr. Threlkeld says it would be an amazing difference if we had three different oral medications within two years of the start of the pandemic,

“It would really help us put the nail in the coffin of this phase of the pandemic,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

While the oral medications are still in development, Dr. Threlkeld continued to stress that the best protection from becoming severely sick or dying from COVID-19 is the vaccine. He says even if you’ve previously been infected with COVID-19, the vaccine can double that level of protection.

The Shelby County Health Department reports that COVID-19 numbers have been waning in recent weeks, but Dr. Threlkeld says that flu season is on the horizon

Dr. Threlkeld says the flu could balance out the drop in COVID-19 numbers with cases of influenza and the important thing to remember is either of these diseases can kill you.

With similar symptoms Dr. Threlkeld says it can be really difficult to tell the difference without a test and, just like COVID-19, the best way to protect yourself from the flu is a vaccine. Flu shots are offered yearly and Dr. Threlkeld says that the best time to get your flu vaccine is as soon as you can.

Dr. Threlkeld also says some people might be due for their COVID-19 booster shot and anyone eligible for the booster should increase their immunity to COVID-19 as soon as possible.

According to Dr. Threlkeld, studies have shown that both the COVID-19 shot and the flu shot can be received at the same time without complications.

The doctor says they don’t want backed up hospitals to prevent people from receiving critical health care or dying be it from COVID-19, the flu or another health complication.

“People died because they had these infections, but the numbers have been high enough people have died because of other spin-off problems related to the infection,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

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