It has been 3 months since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the expansion of covid-19 had turned into a pandemic.
It was March 11 and since then a significant number of studies have been launched on possible treatments for the disease.
In fact, some progress has already been made in the search for effective medications.
Laboratories in different parts of the world are researching over 150 different medications.
Most already existed on pharmacy shelves and are now being tested against the virus.
WHO launched the Solidarity trial aimed at evaluating most promising treatments.
The United Kingdom says that his essay, dubbed Recovery, is the largest in the world. More than 11,000 patients have participated in it. It has been shown that one of the medications you are studying, dexamethasone, helps to save the life of seriously ill patients with coronavirus. Several research centers around the world are trying use the blood of survivors as a treatment.
Dexamethasone is a cheap and easy to get medicine. THE PRESS / .
Three general approaches are being investigated:
Antiviral drugs that directly affect the ability of the coronavirus to develop within the body. Medications that can moderate the immune system response: patients become seriously ill when their immune system overreacts and begins to cause collateral damage to the body.
Antibodies, either from survivors’ blood or made in a laboratory, which can attack the virus.
What are the most promising drugs?
Dexamethasone, the first drug that has been shown to saves people’s lives with covid-19, it has been recognized as a breakthrough.
Initial results showed that this inexpensive steroid reduces the risk of death by one third for patients who need respirators and one fifth in those who have to use oxygen.
Infection coronavirus triggers inflammation when the body tries to fight it.
This can provoke a strong response from the immune system and it is this reaction that can be fatal.
Dexamethasone buffers this response.
Dexamethasone is a freely manufactured drug, which is why many companies make it. THE PRESS / .
Clinical trials of remdesivir, an antiviral medicine Originally developed to treat Ebola, they have also been encouraging.
A US-led trial with more than 1,000 people worldwide found that remdesivir reduced the duration of symptoms from 15 days to 11.
In this study, some patients received the medication and others received a placebo (dummy) treatment.
It is one of the four drugs in the WHO Solidarity trial and its manufacturer, Gilead, is also organizing trials.
However, while remdesivir can aid recovery, and possibly prevent people from having to be treated in intensive care, studies so far have not shown no clear indication of whether it can prevent coronavirus deaths.
Antivirals are believed to be more effective in the early stages and immune drugs when the disease is more advanced.
Gilead developed the Redemsivir to fight Ebola. THE PRESS / .
Can HIV drugs treat coronavirus?
Although much has been said about it, there is little evidence that a couple of HIV medications, lopinavir and ritonavir may be effective in treating the coronavirus.
The results show that they can work in the laboratory setting, but human studies have had disappointing results.
The combination did not improve recovery, reduce deaths, or decrease virus levels in patients with severe covid-19.
However, since the trial was performed with extremely ill patients (almost a quarter died), it could be that the infection was in such an advanced phase that the medications did not work.
The World Health Organization (WHO) stressed that it has not approved any pharmacological treatment for covid-19. THE PRESS / .
Can antimalarial drugs stop the coronavirus?
Malaria drugs are part of both the WHO Solidarity trial and the UK Recovery trial.
Chloroquine and one of its derivatives, hydroxychloroquine, may have antiviral and calming properties of the immune system.
Some believe that the drugs could work as possible therapies for the coronavirus, largely due to claims made by United States President Donald Trump, but there is still little evidence about their effectiveness.
Hydroxychloroquine is also used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, because it helps regulate the immune system.
Early laboratory tests have shown that they can inhibit the coronavirus, but there are growing concerns about its use against the disease.
The WHO says there is no definitive evidence of the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine. THE PRESS / .
Another finding from the UK Recovery trial was that hydroxychloroquine does not work as a treatment for covid-19 and therefore this drug has been withdrawn from the study.
WHO already had previously suspended His global hydroxychloroquine trials after a large-scale study in The Lancet, which revealed that using this drug can cause heart problems and, in fact, increase the likelihood of death.
The WHO says there is no definitive evidence of its effectiveness.
Can survivors’ blood treat coronavirus?
People who pass an infection usually keep antibodies in their blood, which their bodies made to fight the disease.
The idea is to take the blood plasma (the part that contains the antibodies) and give it to a sick patient as therapy.
Plasma transfusions offer hope for covid-19 patients. THE PRESS / .
The United States has already treated 500 patients with what is known as Convalescent plasma, and other countries are also exploring this route.
How long will it be until we have a cure?
It is too early to know when we might have a medicine that can treat coronavirus.
However, in the coming months we should start to get the test results.
It is much sooner than we will know if a vaccine (which protects against infection instead of treating it) is effective.
This is because doctors are testing drugs that have already been developed and are known to be safe enough to use in people, while research on vaccines starts from scratch.
Effective treatment is key to making the disease milder and saving many lives. THE PRESS / .
Some completely new experimental coronavirus medications are being tested in the laboratory, but are not yet ready for human testing.
Why do we need a treatment?
The most obvious reason is that it will save lives, but it could also allow the quarantines imposed in many countries to be lifted.
Having an effective treatment, in essence, would make the coronavirus is a milder disease.
By preventing people admitted to the hospital from reaching a point requiring mechanical ventilation, there would be less risk that intensive care units to collapseTherefore, controls on the movement of people may not be as strict.
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