Coronavirus Drugs News: Unveiled at a White House Coronavirus Task Force news briefing this morning were the clinical trials of two drugs that may help in the treatment of COVID-19: Remdesivir and Hydrochlooquine. Though Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn said these are a source of hope, they’re not yet readily available to the public. They have, however, been given the green light for use in large pragmatic clinical trials.
Here’s information about how both medications are currently being tested in drug trials.
Remdsivir has been used to treat Ebola patients and is already in clinical trials in the US. Doctors treating coronavirus patients can request compassionate use of Remsdivir, which would be made available by prescription upon approval.
Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug, has been used to treat those extremely ill with Coronavirus. There are early signs that an experimental treatment for people who become very sick from the coronavirus may start working within 24 hours of the first dose. China has also used Remesivir in treatment against coronavirus, but its efficacy has yet to have been reported upon.
“It basically stops the production of the virus,” Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota, told NBC News.
In the US this has taken place with two patients at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, where an official clinical trial for the drug is underway. Early results have displayed it having some impact within 24 hours of the first dose. More official results aren’t anticipated to be made available until April.
Gilead, which makes Remdesivir, will enroll up to 1,000 patients in the clinical trials, expanding beyond Providence Regional Medical Center to include in the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta.
Hydroxychloroquine, produced by Regeneron and sold under the brand name Plaquenil, among others, is an antimalarial drug also used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In February, Regeneron announced a partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services to develop a treatment for the new Coronavirus.
Newsweek reported the release this week of research led by Didier Raoult at the Aix-Marseille University in France on hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of Coronavirus.
In a study that kicked off this month, 36 patients were treated for Coronavirus with 20 being given hydroxychloroquine in conjunction with azithromycin, an antibiotic often used to combat bacterial lung disease.
After six days, 70% of the patients in the study were considered cured, “meaning that the virus was no longer detected in samples taken from them, compared to 12.5 percent of the control group patients,” Newsweek reported. “Furthermore, all six patients who were treated with both hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin tested negative for the virus after six days.”
In the Newsweek article, Andrew Preston, an expert from the UK’s University of Bath stressed that larger, controlled trials will be needed. “The results have yet to be fully scrutinized, and of course, it is essential to conduct other, larger controlled trials to determine accurately the effectiveness of [the drug] as a treatment for COVID-19. But in among the oppressive darkness of the current situation, any glimmer of hope is very welcome.”