Amid emerging coronavirus variants, the “direction of the future” will be in developing “potent antivirals” that directly act on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday. Fauci, who was partaking in the White House’s COVID-19 briefing, said the nation would need to approach therapeutics similar to the “highly successful drug development program for HIV as well as Hepatitis C.”
To do so, Fauci said work would need to be done in identifying vulnerable targets within the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle.
“This is going to be the direction of the future,” he said, later adding that the FDA on Monday also issued updated guidance for medical product developers, including those making vaccines, therapeutics and tests to address variant concerns.
Fauci said that while several therapies have already received emergency use authorization, more work has to be done, particularly to address advanced disease. The therapeutics currently approved typically rely on early intervention to see best results.
The briefing was held ahead of a moment of silence led by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for the nearly 500,000 Americans killed by the virus. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said that the progress the nation is seeing in dropping rates of new cases and hospitalizations was counterbalanced by the grim milestone.
“While the pandemic is headed in the right direction, we still have much work to do,” she said, including getting students back to in-person instruction in a safe way.