The USA is devoting $3.2 billion to progress development of antiviral treatments for COVID-19, the Biden administration announced Thursday.

Effective oral antiviral medicines that could be obtained at home early in the course of disease, similar to treatment for the flu, could save lives and protect against overwhelming discomforts in hospitalizations, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release. The program will support research to identify and accelerate accessibility of breakthrough treatment choices”to make sure the public has access to viable medicines,” the announcement said. Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking at a White House briefing, stated he had no knowledge of what the treatments would cost.

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The plan includes building sustainable systems for discovery and development of antivirals for future viruses using”pandemic possible,” the statement said, helping prepare the nation to face future viral threats.