Potential COVID-19 Treatments

Whilst there’s not any clinically recommended drug to treat the patients of COVID-19, the pair of new Coronavirus treatment reports are offering new insights into experimental drugs being tried to treat COVID-19.

Biotech company Gilead Sciences published an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday tracking the responses of 53 patients with severe cases of COVID-19 to remdesivir therapy. The treatment was given out on a compassionate-use basis — that is, patients were given the unapproved drug because no other options were available.

(Photo credit: GERARD JULIEN / AFP)

The hospitalized patients of COVID-19 were given remdesivir. The patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who had an oxygen saturation of 94% or less while they were breathing ambient air or who were receiving oxygen support received a 10-day course of remdesivir, consisting of 200 mg administered intravenously on day 1, followed by 100 mg daily for the remaining 9 days of treatment.

According to the report, doctors observed clinical improvement in 36 of the 53 patients; 8 got complications, and 7 died. Doctors were able to take 17 of the 30 patients off the ventilators. The authors of the study note that the death rate of the patients they observed — 13 percent — is lower than the death rate of 17 to 78 percent in China among people who are severely ill with COVID-19. Side effects included diarrhea, rash, renal impairment, and hypotension.

Jonathan Grein, the lead author of the analysis and director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said in a statement that we cannot draw definitive conclusions from these data but the observations from this group of hospitalized patients who received remdesivir are hopeful. “We look forward to the results of controlled clinical trials to potentially validate these findings,” he added.

Many questions regarding the effectiveness of remdesivir are yet to answer; whether it is safe and effective against COVID-19 but in which patients it shows activity, how long should they receive treatment and at what stage of the disease would treatment be most be effective.

Another drug hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug, appears to have serious side effects on the heart when used for COVID-19 patients and should be used under medical supervision. The report by France’s drug-safety agency details 43 cases of “heart incidents” tied to hydroxychloroquine.

This initial assessment shows that the risks, in particular cardiovascular, associated with these treatments potentially increased in COVID-19 patients. Almost all of the declarations come from health establishments,” the agency said. These drugs are recommended to be used only in hospitals, under close medical supervision.

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate as people of all age groups can be infected by the new virus. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more vulnerable to become severely ill with the virus. This is why people of all ages are advised to take steps to protect themselves from the virus by following good hand hygiene, and respiratory hygiene.

People with COVID-19 generally develop symptoms, including mild respiratory symptoms and fever, on an average of 5-6 days after infection (mean incubation period 5-6 days, range 1-14 days). Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus have mild disease and recover.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.

According to the data available on Worldmeter, some 1,790,550 people are infected with new coronavirus with 109,654 dead, and 409,540 got recovered.

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