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Coronavirus: when a medicine appears to treat COVID-19

Almost 200 thousand people have already become victims of COVID-19, but no medicine has yet been created to combat this disease. Writes about it with the BBC.

Photo: Shutterstock

When can a drug appear that will save many lives?

How is the drug developed?

More than 150 drugs against coronavirus are being developed and tested in the world. Most of these are pre-existing drugs, and scientists are investigating whether they can target the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has begun a clinical trial of the most promising drugs against Covid-19. The study was named “Solidarity”.

In Britain, a clinical study "Recovery" is being conducted, which is the largest in the world - more than 5 thousand volunteers are participating in it.

Also, in some countries, research centers are trying to use the blood of people who have had Covid-19 as a treatment.

What types of drugs are suitable?

Now research is going in three main directions:

Antiviral drugsthat affect the ability of the virus to replicate in the body

Medications That Can Stabilize The Immune System. The condition of the sick seriously worsens when their immune system reacts too actively to the virus and thereby causes unintentional damage to the body

Antibodies capable of fighting the virus which are either taken from the blood of the ill or created in the laboratory

What drug is considered the most promising?

After visiting China, Dr. Bruce Aylward of WHO said that Remdesivir was the only medicine that showed encouraging results.

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Initially, this antiviral drug was created to treat Ebola, but it turned out to be more effective in combating other ailments.

During animal tests, it turned out that it perfectly treats other dangerous coronaviruses (Middle East respiratory syndrome and SARS). This gave scientists hope that it would be effective against Covid-19.

According to information in the media, tests conducted at the University of Chicago revealed the effectiveness of the drug in the fight against the new coronavirus.

Remdesivir is one of four drugs that WHO is testing under Solidarity. The drug manufacturer Gilead also conducts its own tests.

Can HIV medications treat Covid-19?

Much has been said that two HIV drugs - lopinavir and ritonavir - may be effective against coronavirus, but no evidence was found.

In laboratory conditions, scientists were successful, but human trials did not give a positive result.

The drugs did not speed up the correction time, did not reduce mortality and did not reduce the level of the virus in patients with severe Covid-19.

But we must take into account that the tests were carried out among very sick patients (almost 25% later died), and it was probably too late for the effective effect of the drugs.

Can malaria drugs fight coronavirus?

Malaria drugs are undergoing clinical trials conducted by WHO and Britain.

Chloroquine and its derivative hydroxychloroquine may have antiviral and immunostimulating properties that are necessary in the fight against coronavirus.

The drugs were in the spotlight after statements by US President Donald Trump, who said they were effective in treating Covid-19, but there is little evidence of their effectiveness.

Hydroxychloroquine is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis because it is able to stabilize the immune system.

Laboratory tests have shown that it can suppress the coronavirus, and there is some unconfirmed evidence from doctors claiming it helps patients.

However, WHO states that there is no concrete evidence of its effectiveness.

What about immunopreparations?

If the immune system over-reacts to the virus, it can cause inflammation throughout the body. This is useful for boosting the immune system, which needs to fight the infection, but its excessive zeal can cause side harm in the body and even lead to death.

A WHO study tests the effect of interferon beta, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis and to reduce inflammation. Interferons are a group of chemicals that the body produces when attacked by a virus.

A British clinical study investigates the properties of dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory substance.

Can the blood of cured people help?

In people who have recovered from the infection, it is believed that antibodies must form in the blood that can fight the virus.

The idea is that a person takes blood plasma (it contains antibodies) and transfuse it to the patient.

In the United States, 500 people have already undergone treatment with convalescence plasma, and some other countries are also trying this method.

When will an effective treatment method appear?

It is too early to say when a medicine will appear that can cure Covid-19.

But in the coming months, the results of clinical trials will become known.

This will happen much sooner than it becomes known about the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine, which protects against infection, and does not cure.

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This is due to the fact that doctors check the effectiveness of already developed drugs that have already been tested for safety of use, while the development of a vaccine begins with a clean slate.

Now scientists are also developing experimental drugs to combat coronavirus, but they still have clinical trials ahead.

Why is treatment necessary?

The most obvious reason is that treatment will save a lot of people, but it will also weaken some quarantine measures.

The advent of an effective treatment method will translate coronavirus infection into the category of milder diseases.

If thanks to this, people will no longer need artificial ventilation of the lungs in hospitals, then there will no longer be a danger of congestion in intensive care units, and no more drastic measures will be needed to save the lives of many patients infected with coronavirus.

How do doctors treat patients now?

Most people who become infected with coronavirus have mild symptoms. They can be treated at home, which means bed rest, paracetamol and drinking plenty of fluids.

However, some people require hospitalization, which, among other things, includes the supply of oxygen to the patient, for example, through mechanical ventilation.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

treatment Educational program coronavirus Special Projects

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How Quarantine Affected New Yorkers: The Stories of Our Immigrants

Research: coronavirus mutated into dozens of different strains

Scientists: because of the pandemic, the number of hungry people in the world may double

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