Search for treatments against coronaviruses: the latest developments

Search for treatments against coronaviruses: the latest developments

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Researchers have identified nearly 70 drug therapies that could relieve coronavirus symptoms, and the clinical trials being accelerated, it is difficult to follow them.

Here are the latest possible treatments as scientists rush to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.


The first small but controlled study of the potential treatment of coronaviruses with hydroxychloroquine, a drug for malaria and lupus, found that the drug is no more effective than conventional therapy.

the study – conducted in China and published by the Journal of Zhejiang University – included 30 patients with confirmed COVID-19, but in particular, these patients did not receive Zithromax, an antibiotic commonly called the Z pack. Anecdotal evidence of ‘a small French study showed that when Zithromax was combined with hydroxychloroquine, it was promising to help patients with severe COVID-19 improve.

Hydroxychloroquine is a less toxic derivative of chloroquine.

However, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of these drugs. Experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, warned that these drugs were unproven and that controlled clinical trials were needed to definitively prove whether they were really effective against COVID-19.

However, on Tuesday, New York State began administering hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax to the most critical COVID-19 patients after receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Still, there is currently no FDA-approved drug specifically to treat COVID-19 patients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We hope for optimistic results,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.

Vice President Pence, in a Fox News town hall Tuesday, said the administration wants to make the drugs more widely available.

“We are working with the FDA to allow these already legal drugs to be used for off-label prescriptions by doctors, so that they can be used for the coronavirus,” said Pence.

The FDA has temporarily lifted a ban preventing Indian Ipca laboratories from sending hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine tablets to the United States. Sales of hydroxychloroquine are up 7.9% from last year, according to IQVIA.

“We have also worked with manufacturers overseas,” said Pence, who added that he had personally spoken to the CEO of Bayer Pharmaceuticals about the production of more chloroquine.


The Trump administration’s optimism and the promotion of certain drugs like Remdesivir have resulted in massive demand.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug considered a possible treatment for COVID-19, has been the subject of two phase 3 clinical trials, including a study of approximately 1,000 patients in countries with a high prevalence of COVID-19.

However, the publicity for the investigational drug led to an overwhelming demand from doctors and desperate patients, forcing Gilead to close emergency access to the drug, as he sought to put in place a larger program to allow more people to try it.

“Due to the overwhelming demand in the past few days, during this transition period, we are unable to accept new individual requests for compassion,” Gilead said in a statement. “With the exception of requests from pregnant women and children under 18 with confirmed COVID-19 and serious manifestations of the disease.”


In New York, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is conducting a phase 2/3 clinical trial of Kevzara, a rheumatoid arthritis drug that could relieve inflammation of the lungs in severe COVID-19 cases. About fifty patients in New York participated in the trial.

The company also worked on a laboratory-made cocktail of antibodies that could give people temporary immunity to COVID-19 – an “intermediate step” – while scientists were working on a vaccine.


“It can protect you immediately, but it only lasts a limited time,” said Dr. George D. Yancopoulos, president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron. “It can protect all healthcare workers. The minute you get this hit, you would be protected and it would last a month or two. It is not permeable like a vaccine. You can give it to everyone at risk and give it to children with cystic fibrosis or other lung diseases and the elderly. “

Regeneron has indicated that he hopes the antibody cocktail will undergo human testing and be approved by the end of the summer, and it is society’s hope that Kevzara could be approved for use. use of coronaviruses by late spring.

“We are going far beyond any schedule that could even have been imagined,” said Yancopoulos. “It could be a punch one to two in the short term.”


The FDA has also authorized New York State to try an experimental procedure in which plasma from an infected person is taken and injected into a person living with the virus – in the hope that antibodies will make a difference.

Cuomo said New York is also working on a new blood test that would identify who has previously been infected with COVID-19 and has antibodies to the virus, which makes them immune.

“You now have immunity to the coronavirus for a certain period of time,” said Cuomo. “It is then health workers who could return to work.”


The White House has said that a coronavirus vaccine is unlikely to be available for a year and a half. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has remained optimistic that treatment for COVID-19 is coming soon.

“The good news is,” Pence told Fox News, “we expect later this spring to have breakthrough therapies that will bring relief to Americans battling the coronavirus.”

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