Mesa clinic looking for volunteers in COVID-19 pill trials

Posted at 6:58 AM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 14:39:21-04

MESA, AZ — The future of COVID-19 treatment and prevention might not even require a needle.

Arizona Clinical Trials in Mesa has been running trials for several companies’ versions of a pill that would treat and prevent COVID-19.

Pfizer, Roche, and Merck are all companies that have been in trials for these pills. AZ Clinical Trials is still looking for volunteers for trials for Merck’s pill.

AZ Clinical Trials Primary Investigator Dr. Yessica Sachdeva told ABC15 they’re looking for adults who have just been exposed to COVID-19 from a member of their household.

Ideally, these pills would prevent you from even getting sick, or treat you if the virus is in your system, and prevent you from falling seriously ill. Dr. Sachdeva said you would take four pills, twice a day, for five days as part of the trial.

There are already several COVID-19 prevention and treatment methods available on the market right now, including several approved or emergency use-authorized vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and FDA-approved Remdesivir that can be given as inpatient treatment. The pills, however, would not require needles and could be prescribed by a doctor.

“This should not replace vaccination, but it’s just having another option,” said Dr. Sachdeva. “I think in medicine we always need different options because every patient is different and some patients will tolerate something better than others and it’s just having the different options of treatment.”

AZ Clinical Trials’ Mesa office is one of several across the country involved with Merck’s COVID-19 pill trials.

“We’re very thankful to the community because in this location here in Mesa we have been able to provide so much data to the country,” Dr. Sachdeva said. “We have been doing COVID clinical trials for more than a year now and a lot of the drugs that we tested are now FDA emergency use [authorized].”

She said they’re hoping that can also be the case with the COVID-19 pill, but it would require more volunteers and she understands some people are skeptical about drugs and treatments that haven’t been authorized or have been developed quickly.

“It’s not like we’re skipping steps,” Dr. Sachdeva said. "It’s just that there were a lot of volunteers, things were going smooth, and we were able to gather data.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the COVID-19 pill trials or seeing if you qualify, you can visit this website or call 480-360-4000.