DURBAN - The world’s biggest trial of possible treatments for Covid-19 is currently underway. The pandemic has catalysed the development of novel coronavirus vaccines across the biotech industry, both by pharmaceutical companies and research organisations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US.
Below is a list of the several drugs that have garnered considerable media attention and demonstrated efficacy in treating Covid-19 :
Preliminary results have shown that patients who took the Gilead’s remdesivir drug usually recovered faster than those who didn’t take the drug. Even though remdesivir was granted for emergency use, there are still several ongoing clinical trials testing whether it’s effective in stopping the coronavirus from replicating.
Various clinical trials
Hydroxychloroquine is a decades-old malaria drug. The drug is proven to work in treating Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, but not Covid-19. A handful of small studies on its use in Covid-19 patients published in France and China has raised hope that the drug might help fight the virus.
Favipiravir is an anti-flu drug sold by Fujifilm Holding under the name Avigan. Researchers in China are testing the drug to see if it’s effective in fighting the coronavirus. Most of favipiravir’s preclinical data is derived from its influenza and Ebola activity; however, the agent also demonstrated broad activity against other Ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses, according to researchers in Japan.
Regeneron and Sanofi started clinical trials of rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara in Covid-19 patients in March. The drug inhibits a pathway thought to contribute to the lung inflammation in patients with the most severe forms of Covid-19. The companies announced last month that Kevzara showed promise for treating the sickest coronavirus patients in a clinical trial but it wasn’t beneficial for patients with the less-advanced disease, prompting the companies to stop testing the medicine in that group.
Development: Clinical trials
Eli Lilly, in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is seeing if its rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib is effective against the coronavirus. The company theorizes that baricitinib’s anti-inflammatory effects could curb the body’s reaction to the virus.
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