Biden Administration Invests in Antiviral Medicines

The US government will invest $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan into a COVID-19 antiviral development strategy.

The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced on June 17, 2021 that the Biden administration will be investing more than $3 billion for the development and manufacturing of antiviral medicines. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), NIAID, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will collaborate to respond to the urgent need for COVID-19 antivirals through the Antiviral Program for Pandemics. The plan will spur the availability of lifesaving COVID-19 medicines and prepare for future viral threats by building discovery and development platforms for antivirals for other viruses with the possibility of becoming a pandemic.

NIH will evaluate, prioritize, and advance antiviral candidates to Phase II clinical trials as part of the plan. More than $300 million will be provided for research and lab support, almost $1 billion will be provided for preclinical and clinical evaluation, and nearly $700 million will be provided for development and manufacturing through NIAID and BARDA. Additionally, $1.2 billion will support the creation of Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern for the discovery and development of antiviral drugs. The centers will first target coronaviruses and then expand to other viruses with pandemic potential.

“New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the President and NIAID Director, in a press release. “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.”

“This plan builds on the long, successful partnership between BARDA and NIH to develop vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, from combatting Ebola, anthrax and smallpox, to now tackling COVID-19,” said BARDA Director Gary Disbrow, PhD, in the release. “Throughout this public health emergency, we have worked with industry to develop treatments to reduce severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths, and this proposal will help us go even further to accelerate and deliver more safe and effective treatments that are easy to administer.”

Source: NIAID