There appears to be a rise in COVID-19 illnesses, driven by Omicron subvariants, which may be better able to evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections and lower public health measures by the public such as masking and social distancing.

Reportedly, Pfizer is holding the company’s COVID-19 antiviral therapy Paxlovid under tight control. This is a disappointment to numerous investigators who want to test the antiviral combination therapy with other drugs in case the virus develops resistance to the combo.

Rising COVID-19 cases are driving up the use of therapeutics, with Pfizer Inc.’s oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid seeing a 315 percent jump over the past four weeks, U.S. health officials said on May 17.

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review recommended two out of three outpatient treatments for COVID-19 in the market, singling out molnupiravir as having inadequate evidence to support claims that it is better than symptomatic care.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is aiming to expand access to COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments like Pfizer Inc.’s Paxlovid by doubling the number of locations at which they are available, the White House said on April 26.

The U.S. health regulator said on March 25 the current authorized dose of GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology’s COVID-19 antibody therapy is unlikely to be effective against the Omicron BA.2 variant.

Thirty five generic drugmakers around the world will make cheap versions of Pfizer Inc.’s highly effective COVID-19 oral antiviral Paxlovid to supply the treatment in 95 poorer countries, the U.N.-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) said on March 17.

A World Health Organization (WHO) panel on March 2 backed the use of Merck & Co. Inc.’s COVID-19 antiviral pill for high-risk patients.

The World Health Organization indicated WHO is tracking four Omicron subvariants: BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.3. BA.2 has a growth advantage over BA.1, the variant responsible for the recent Omicron surge.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has hit companies unevenly, some biopharma firms that have produced new drugs or vaccines against the disease have shown big spikes in drug sales. BioSpace reviewed five companies that produced non-vaccine treatments for COVID-19.