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There are currently no drugs other than vaccines that can stop people developing Covid-19 – but if one is discovered it could spell the end of lockdowns forever, one expert has said.

Pfizer, the company that made one of the most-used jabs in Europe and North America, is already testing its experimental pill on people.

The antiviral drug, named PF-07321332, could be given to stop the illness getting severe in people who have started showing signs of coronavirus infection.

Although most people will get vaccinated against Covid, jabs aren’t 100 per cent effective and some people can’t have them or don’t benefit as much, meaning coronavirus will still spread and still be dangerous for unprotected people.

Pills could help to prevent severe illness in people for whom jabs don’t work as well, or be a second line of defence in case an immune-resistant new variant emerges.

Around 60 people are currently involved in the first phase of Pfizer’s PF-07321332 trial, which is expected to come to an end on May 25.

After this, if the pill turns out to be safe, larger trials with more people will be done to prove that it definitely does stop Covid, as lab tests suggested it will.

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