Where We Are with Vaccines and Treatments for COVID-19
- Scientists around the world are working on potential treatments and vaccines for the new coronavirus disease known as .
- Several companies are working on antiviral drugs, some of which are already in use against other illnesses, to treat people who already have COVID-19.
- Other companies are working on vaccines that could be used as a preventive measure against the disease
As of May 8,
The FDA issued an EUA in March for the antimalaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, but
An EUA allows doctors to use these drugs to treat people with COVID-19 even before the medications have gone through the formal FDA approval process.
These drugs are still being tested in clinical trials to see whether they’re effective against COVID-19. This step is needed to make sure the medications are safe for this particular use and what the proper dosage should be.
It could be months before treatments are available that are known to work against COVID-19. It could be even longer for a vaccine.
But there are still other tools we can use to reduce the damage done by the new coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2.
“Even though technological advances allow us to do certain things more quickly,” Lee told Healthline, “we still have to rely on social distancing, contact tracing, self-isolation, and other measures.”
Drug development is sometimes described as a pipeline, with compounds moving from early laboratory development to laboratory and animal testing to clinical trials in people.
It can take afor a new compound to go from initial discovery to the marketplace. Many compounds never even make it that far.
That’s why many medications being eyed as potential treatments for COVID-19 are.
In ain the British Journal of Pharmacology, scientists from the United Kingdom called for wider screening of existing drugs to see if they might work against the new coronavirus.
They identified three stages of infection at which the virus could be targeted: keeping the virus from entering our cells, preventing it from replicating inside the cells, and minimizing the damage that the virus does to the organs.
Many of the drugs being developed or tested for COVID-19 are antivirals. These would target the virus in people who already have an infection.
Lee says antivirals work better if you administer them sooner, “before the virus has a chance to multiply significantly.” And also before the virus has caused significant, such as to the lungs or other tissues.
, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College and a former chief medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), says both antivirals and vaccines will be valuable tools in combating COVID-19.
However, he told Healthline that “antivirals are likely to be developed and approved before a vaccine, which typically takes longer.”
Developed aago, this drug failed in clinical trials against Ebola in 2014. But it was found to be generally safe in people. with MERS, a disease caused by a different coronavirus, showed that the drug blocked the virus from replicating.
The drug is being tested in many
The drug is also beingwith moderate to severe COVID-19.
In late April, the drug’s manufacturer, Gilead Sciences,one of its trials had been “terminated” due to low enrollment. Gilead officials said the results of that trial had been “inconclusive” when it was ended.
A few days later, the companythat preliminary data from another trial of remdesivir overseen by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) had “met its primary endpoint.”
More details will be released after the trial is peer reviewed and published.
Gary Schwitzer, founder of HealthNewsReview.org, though, said the researchers2 weeks before Fauci’s announcement.
Schwitzer compared that to moving football goalposts closer to make it easier to get a touchdown.
At the same time,
Despite the conflicting results, the FDA
In early June, federal officialstheir supply of remdesivir will run out by the end of June. Gilead is ramping up production, but it’s unclear how much of the drug will be available this summer.
This antiviral was tested along with the drug lopinavir/ritonavir as a treatment for COVID-19.
Researchersin mid-April that the two drugs didn’t improve the clinical outcomes for people hospitalized with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.
This drug was created by scientists at a nonprofit biotech company owned by Emory University.
Research in mice has shown that it canof multiple coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
Pharmaceutical company Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP signed anin May to develop this drug. It’s already being tested in a in the United Kingdom.
Unlike remdesivir, EIDD-2801 can be taken orally, which would make it available to a larger number of people.
This drug is approved in some countries outside the United States to treat influenza.
Somesuggest it may work as a treatment for COVID-19. These results, though, haven’t been published yet.
Japan, where the medication is made, isfor clinical trial testing in people with mild or moderate COVID-19. are testing to see whether the drug can help fight outbreaks in long-term care homes.
This is a combination of two drugs — lopinavir and ritonavir — that work against HIV.
are being done to see whether it also works against SARS-CoV-2.
One smallpublished May 4 in the journal Med by Cell Press found that lopinavir/ritonavir didn’t improve outcomes in people with mild or moderate COVID-19 compared to those receiving standard care.
Another, published May 7 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the drug combination wasn’t effective for people with severe COVID-19.
This drug developed by ViralClear Pharmaceuticals Inc. has been shown previously to have antiviral and immune-suppressing effects. It was tested against hepatitis C but had only.
The company isof this drug. People with advanced COVID-19 will be randomized to receive either merimepodib with remdesivir, or remdesivir plus a placebo.
The company hopes to have results by late summer of this year.
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