COVID Treatments: The Potential “Game Changers”

Early clinical trial results showing a positive effect for a pill that can be taken at home have been hailed as a potential change that could provide a new way to protect the most vulnerable people from the worst effects of COVID-19.

Molnupiravir joins a growing list of promising drugs.

Here are some of the major developments in treatments to date.


It is an antiviral drug designed to block the replication of the virus at the early stage of the disease. It has been licensed to treat influenza in Japan since 2014 and was the first antiviral drug to be included in the UK’s Principle trial in homes or residences, with phase 3 results to be released within weeks. to come.

Pfizer Antiviral PF-07321332

Pfizer is testing a competing antiviral pill in up to 2,660 healthy adult participants, including a cohort of people living in the same household as a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection and a second group of symptomatic out-patient adult patients, consider both treatment and prevention of infection. The drug works by blocking the activity of the COVID protease, an enzyme that the virus needs to multiply inside the body. The results of the tests are expected before the end of the year.

Synairgen antiviral inhaler

The Synairgen company reported encouraging first results for a drug originally developed to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The drug, administered using a portable, battery-powered nebulizer, is based on beta interferon, a natural molecule that stimulates the immune system in the lungs. Studies suggest the drug has “broad-spectrum antiviral activity” and is in phase 3 trials.

Budesonide inhaler

Budesonide is a corticosteroid commonly used to treat asthma and COPD and was also tested in the Principle trial. Recent results have shown that the drug can shorten the recovery time of people not admitted to hospital by three days. At present, budesonide is not recommended as standard treatment, but can be used off-label for patients with additional risk factors, including those over 65 years of age with co-morbidities.

In Europe, Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche is working with Atea Pharmaceuticals on an oral antiviral that it says has dual potential: treating people with COVID-19 and preventing disease in people who have been exposed to the virus. Early results in hospitalized patients with moderate COVID-19 and at high risk of poor outcomes “indicated rapid and sustained antiviral activity against Sars-CoV-2, with no new or unexpected safety results,” the company said .


This inexpensive steroid, which is around 60 years old, became one of the early success stories of the pandemic, when the Oxford-led Recovery trial found that the drug had saved the life of one in eight people with severe COVID , on a ventilator in the hospital. A low dose of the drug is now the standard treatment for critically ill hospitalized patients. It is an anti-inflammatory drug, which can moderate the overreaction of the immune system in severe cases in response to the coronavirus.


This antiviral, manufactured by the American company Gilead Sciences, has been authorized for emergency use in the United States, India and Singapore and approved in the European Union (EU), Japan and Australia for use on people with severe symptoms. It is expensive and is administered intravenously. Its benefits to patients have been disputed, with a large World Health Organization (WHO) trial reporting little effect on mortality or the need for ventilation.

Convalescent blood plasma

It was hoped that blood containing antibodies collected from people who have recovered from COVID-19 would have a protective effect, as convalescent plasma has been used successfully to treat other illnesses. The United States has given it emergency clearance, but this week, the largest trial to date involving 500,000 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 showed no overall benefit, as patients who received convalescent plasma experiencing more adverse events than those who received standard care. – The Guardian

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