'COVID-19 pill': How does it work and what's its potential? LA doctor explains

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Researchers say they're working on an anti-viral pill for COVID-19 that would work the same way current antiviral drugs act on the flu virus.

Dr. Anthony Cardillo, an ER specialist and CEO of Mend Urgent Care in Los Angeles, talked about what we know about the experimental drug and how it can fight coronavirus.

Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Merck & Co. is developing the pill that Cardillo says works similar to how Tamiflu treats influenza. According to Cardillo, antivirals slow down the replication of the virus, giving the body a chance to fight it off and shorten the length of illness.

He added that the experimental drug is showing that it eradicates the virus from the nasal passage "much more rapidly" than those who didn't get the medication.

With vaccines and the potential of antiviral drugs, Cardillo said by next winter, it is possible the coronavirus could be contained.

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