Promising COVID-19 Treatments: List of Potential Drugs

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The race is on to find an effective treatment to eliminate the coronavirus – as the deadly disease continues to spread across the world.Here is a list of the most promising treatments and potential vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Remdesivir

The investigational antiviral drug, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, was the first to obtain emergency use authorization from the United States Food and Drug Administration. It was originally developed to treat hepatitis C and RSV, a virus that can cause potentially serious respiratory infections, and works by preventing viruses from replicating by inserting into infected genes.

Remdesivir was recently shown to reduce the risk of death in patients with severe coronavirus by 62% in a clinical study.

An earlier study also found that remdesivir helped coronavirus patients recover faster.

Dexamethasone

Several US hospitals began using the widely available steroid to treat COVID-19 patients in June after a preliminary study by British researchers found the inexpensive drug reduced the risk of death by about a third in patients requiring mechanical breathing assistance or oxygen.

The anti-inflammatory drug is used to treat edema, spinal tumors, and inflammation of the brain and eyes. It is also used as a treatment for certain types of autoimmune diseases and cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

coronavirus dexamethasone tablets
A pharmacist holds a box of dexamethasone tablets.AFP via Getty Images

But dexamethasone may do more harm than good for patients with milder cases of the coronavirus. The National Institutes of Health does not recommend using the drug on those who do not need supplemental oxygen or a ventilator.

RLF-100

Critically ill patients also rebounded faster thanks to RLF-100, or aviptadil, a synthetic form of a natural peptide that protects the lung. The treatment has just received the designation of accelerated emergency use in the United States by the FDA.

Beta interferon

An inhalable form of beta interferon, a protein produced by the body fighting a viral infection, helped reduce the risk of patients developing severe cases of coronavirus by 79%, according to a preliminary study from a phase clinical trial 1 published last month. The treatment, developed by the British company Synairgen, was inhaled directly into the lungs.

Beta interferon
Beta interferonShutterstock

The trial, however, was only conducted on a small group of patients.

Vaccines

More than 165 coronavirus vaccines are currently in development – and 27 have reached human trials, according to the New York Times.

The Trump administration has distributed large sums of money for various potential vaccines that are being developed by companies such as Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca. The goal is to deliver 300 million doses of an effective vaccine against the coronavirus by January.

Moderna reached phase III of its human trial after a study found that monkeys injected with its candidate – mRNA-1273 – developed immunity to COVID-19. Primates who received two doses of the vaccination developed high levels of antibodies and were able to fight off the virus.

A vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson had similar results in monkeys.

Pfizer also worked on four experimental vaccines with German company BioNTech, including one that helped volunteers in Phase I and II trials develop antibodies against the coronavirus.

Novavax is also developing a vaccine – NVX-CoV2373. The U.S. government pledged $ 1.6 billion to the biotech company last month to help it start production and fund a Phase 3 clinical trial with up to 30,000 participants expected to start at l ‘autumn.

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