Researchers in Fresno are looking into whether a pill authorized to treat the virus could potentially prevent it.
"We know that the vaccine originally was very effective," said Dr. Mohamed Fayed with UCSF Fresno. "Now, with the new variant, it is not as effective to prevent infection. Although it's still continued to be the most effective to prevent serious illness."
Dr. Fayed is leading a team through a clinical trial studying an oral antiviral pill called molnupiravir.
That medication, along with Paxlovid, is already authorized to treat active COVID-19 cases in people with a high risk of developing severe illness.
UCSF Fresno's clinical trial is taking it a step further.
"Now, the next step is to see if these antivirals can actually prevent the infection, not just when you get infected," Dr. Fayed explained.
The UCSF Fresno trial for molnupiravir was approved a few months ago. Right now, researchers are looking for people to participate in it - specifically households dealing with an active infection.
"We are enrolling all men and women, adults. Household members who are living with a patient with the virus," said clinical research coordinator Ashley Gutierrez.
"We know that it's very common that the other family member can get the infection," said Dr. Fayed. "So the trial is really looking into: Can we do something else? Can we do something extra?"
According to Dr. Fayed, UCSF Fresno's Research Center has been a key player in the fight against the virus, and they hope to continue that effort for the Central Valley.
"It's so important to us to continue doing the scientific data and collection and do trials to make sure we have all the new medication that can be available for the public," he said.
The clinical trial can last months, possibly years.
For more information about it, such as how you can enroll to participate in the study, click here. You can also reach out to the research coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.