In a world consumed by the pandemic of Covid-19, social distancing, and self quarantines, one can only hope that a wave of treatments and cures hits us before another wave of this deadly virus. The problem with many potential treatments is that there simply is not enough evidence to move forward with using them routinely. So, are there treatments and cures for Covid-19? Let’s take a look.
Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine
Early on, some doctors reported great results using malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, combined with the antibiotic, azithromycin. The drug company, Novartis, is taking on the task of studying these drugs and their effect on treating Covid-19.
Chief medical officer of Novartis, John Tsai said in an interview, “We felt like there was just a lot of noise out there regarding whether it would be beneficial for this population of patients that [it] could really be helpful for, so we wanted to embark on a rigorous, scientifically led approach to address the unanswered question, which is whether the use of hydroxychloroquine can help patients with Covid-19.”
A popular antiparasitic medication that has been used since the 1970s for both humans and pets, Ivermectin, has been touted as a possible treatment for Covid-19. Currently it is being heavily researched in Australia where it is being tested on lab grown mammalian cells. It has proven to show a 5,000-fold reduction in Sars-CoV-2 RNA within 48 hours. However, the dosage needed to get to this number is far beyond a safe level to give to a human patient. It is noted however, that in safe doses, it could potentially reduce an infection.
The antiviral medication, remdesivir, has been created by Gilead Sciences and is also being tested as a potential treatment for Covid-19. The initial study, however, has been terminated due to too few patients.
In a summary of the study, it states,“In this study of hospitalized adult patients with severe COVID-19 that was terminated prematurely, remdesivir was not associated with clinical or virological benefits.” This study was held in China and terminated early due to the number of Covid-19 cases rapidly decreasing.
Many people are holding onto hope for a vaccine to be fast-tracked to the market. Even in the best case scenario, a viable vaccine would not be able to be readily available for at least another year. In order to create a vaccine, you need both animal and human trials to test the efficacy of the vaccine. There are side effects and risks to overcome, federal guidelines to follow, licenses to apply for and much more.
There are current efforts to expedite this process without inducing more harm or other consequences. However, even with the effort and the hurdles to jump through, there’s also a lot of money to get a vaccine to market. It is best to remain patient about this possibility becoming a reality.
The Right to Try
Lastly, in 2018, The Trump Administration passed the Right to Try Act. The families of Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina came together to push forward the ability of people with life-threatening illnesses to use unapproved medications after exhausting all other options.
These are people who do not have time to be part of a clinical trial and have tried all other treatments and therapies to minimal success. This could be a useful option for those becoming deathly ill with Covid-19.
For The Right to Try to work,
- A patient will have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or condition.
- The patient has exhausted approved treatment options and is unable to participate in a clinical trial involving the eligible investigational drug.
- They or their legally authorized representative has provided written informed consent regarding the eligible investigational drug to the treating physician.
For a drug to be considered eligible under this act:
- A Phase 1 clinical trial has been completed.
- It has not been approved or licensed by the FDA.
- An application has been filed with the FDA or is under investigation in a clinical trial.
- The therapy is in active development or production is ongoing.
Many people around the world are working very hard to find a treatment or a cure for Covid-19. There are some promising things on the horizon, however nothing has proven to be very successful. Your best bet is to continue to thoroughly wash your hands and follow the guidelines presented to you.