The Latest Research on COVID-19 Treatments and Medications in the Pipeline

The Latest Research on COVID-19 Treatments and Medications in the Pipeline

Posted by Valerie Walters on Jul 2, 2020 8:41 am

Over 10 million people worldwide have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and that number is quickly growing. Our healthcare system is becoming increasingly strained and we are in desperate need of a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19. Scientists around the world are racing against time to find a cure/drug. 

Below we highlight a few medications and treatments that have been making a buzz in the science community. Feel feel free to add more in the comments.

1) Remdesivir
Remdesivir is an antiviral that is given by intravenous (IV) infusion in the hospital. This is a brand-new drug that has not been approved by the FDA for use on the market yet, and is being tested in carefully controlled environments. It was previously shown to have some effect against SARS, MERS, and Ebola in cell and animal models. In a recent in vitro study (studies done in a petri dish or test tube rather than in animals or humans), remdesivir prevented human cells from being infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

2) Dexamethasone
Dexamethasone is a common corticosteroid (steroid) medication that has been used for many years to treat various health conditions, such as autoimmune conditions and allergic reactions. RECOVERY, a randomized clinical trial in the UK, is studying many medications, including dexamethasone, to see if any are effective against COVID-19.

3) Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are two medications that have been used for many decades to treat malaria and autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. A few small studies suggest that they may also be helpful for treating hospitalized patients with mild cases of COVID-19, while many other studies showed that hydroxychloroquine did not make a difference. More robust studies are needed to confirm whether these medications actually work.

4) Azithromycin
Azithromycin (informally known as a Z-pak) is an antibiotic commonly used to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It has been shown to have some in vitro activity against viruses like influenza A and Zika, but did not work against the coronavirus that causes MERS.

5) Avigan (favipiravir)
Favipiravir (also known as Avigan) is an antiviral medication approved in Japan and China for the flu. In vitro studies have shown that high doses of favipiravir were able to prevent human cells from being infected with SARS-CoV-2.

6) Colcrys (colchicine)
Colchicine is a medication used for gout. It works in many different ways, including activating anti-inflammatory processes and interfering with cells involved in inflammation. Researchers think that colchicine could work similarly to Actemra in COVID-19 patients in that it might be helpful if the immune system becomes too activated and a cytokine storm occurs. A large clinical trial is currently seeing if colchicine, when given soon after a COVID-19 diagnosis, can lower the chances of hospitalization and death.

7) Ivermectin
Ivermectin is an oral medication used to treat infections caused by parasites. It is also available as a lotion or cream to treat lice and rosacea. A recent in vitro study found that ivermectin can stop SARS-CoV-2 from replicating. A lot more research is needed to see if the doses studied would be safe and effective against the virus in humans.

8) Tamiflu (oseltamivir)
Tamiflu is an antiviral medication used for influenza (flu). Results from a hospital in Wuhan, China were not promising. Of 138 hospitalized patients, 124 got Tamiflu along with other medications. By the end of the study, 85 patients (62%) were still hospitalized and 6 had died. Nonetheless, several clinical trials are currently looking at Tamiflu in combination with other medications for coronavirus.

There is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19 at this time. More studies are needed to confirm if any of the potential treatments listed above will work for COVID-19. Research on COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. For now, the treatment for patients with mild symptoms is to self-isolate at home. Patients who are hospitalized receive supportive care (such as oxygen), enroll in clinical trials, and are given medications off-label based on hospital guidelines and their doctors’ clinical judgement.

Re: The Latest Research on COVID-19 Treatments and Medications in the Pipeline

Posted by James Swanson on Sep 22, 2020 12:42 pm

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Re: The Latest Research on COVID-19 Treatments and Medications in the Pipeline

Posted by Phill Wagner on Jan 25, 2021 8:30 pm

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Re: The Latest Research on COVID-19 Treatments and Medications in the Pipeline

Posted by Henry Jokovich on Feb 5, 2021 8:02 am

Humanity will be able to defeat covid-19, I believe in that. I have a question, where did it come from and how?

Re: The Latest Research on COVID-19 Treatments and Medications in the Pipeline

Posted by Sara Fritz on Feb 9, 2021 8:29 am

During a general wellbeing crisis, for example, COVID-19, the FDA can give a crisis use approval (EUA) to help make new prescriptions and clinical items more accessible to patients. Having an EUA doesn't imply that the FDA has affirmed the prescription or item. Or maybe, the plan of an EUA is to make it simpler for patients to get another potential treatment when no different choices are free.

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