Coronavirus: What is the response of medicine in 2020 ?
It has been several months since the new coronavirus has emerged, but still no effective treatment has been found, let alone validated to date. However, following the investigations and in the hope of treating as many patients as possible, several promising avenues stand out. In this article, we will discuss the different treatments that medicine offers against this virus.
Focus on treatments to combat the symptoms
Given the observations made on the first cases of contamination, the main symptoms described refer to a breathing difficulty. The disease also manifests itself through pulmonary complications that are essentially pneumonia type; acute respiratory infections, shortness of breath, coughing and even fever. Apart from these types of symptoms, other manifestations such as digestive and ocular have also been recorded in some confirmed cases.
The set of possible treatments that can be considered to treat confirmed cases are therefore those that are able to fight against the different symptoms observed. Since it is a new virus, it has been authorized so-called experimental treatments that must be tested with an important margin of caution, in order to reach conclusive results. In the meantime, there is a worldwide race to find a specific remedy or medication.
The antiviral Remdesevir: Promising treatment to fight and eradicate Covid-19
From the beginning, Remdesivir is a drug that has been mentioned in the treatment of the new Coronavirus COVID-19. This drug had proved itself not only in the fight against the Ebola virus, but also in the treatment of Mers and Sars-Cov-1. The drug has thus been approved by the European Medicines Agency since Thursday, June 25, 2020 to be conditionally marketed for use in the treatment of Covid-19. It is worth mentioning that this treatment based on the drug Remdesivir had already been authorized in some countries like the United States of America.
In the same perspective, the next challenge for Europe is to have the agreement of the European Commission.
According to the experiments, it appears that the treatment based on this antiviral allows to fight effectively against the virus. This is the case of a French patient who was cured with this drug.
But what is Remdesevir in concrete terms? ?
It is a small molecule that would be able to spread over the whole of the brainall organs in the human body, and it is thus diffused in the lungs, which are target organs of the new coronavirus. The cured French patient was treated intravenously for 10 days and according to the results, he tolerated it perfectly. As a result of this experience, Remdesivir shows its potential effectiveness in the fight against the virus (this time in the laboratory).
However, it should be mentioned that at the time there was no data to justify its efficacy and tolerance in humans. It should also be noted that even though several studies such as those conducted in China have not concluded that this antiviral is effective, it is still a rather promising avenue for the fight against Covid-19. On the other hand, another study shows that this drug could bring a considerable benefit to infected people if it is associated with another treatment: it is the antihypertensive diltiazem.
After a series of tests, it has been shown that a stimulation of the innate immune response of the epithelia from the action of diltiazem allows remdesivir to have a better potential, even at low dose. In addition to being a very expensive drug, remdesivir has some toxicity in vitro. Before the launch of a clinical trial, probably as early as next winter, preclinical tests on animals will continue.
Treatment of severe forms with Anakinra
The latest study conducted on this treatment was published on May 29, 2020 and according to the report, the results obtained are promising. A treatment based on Anakinra could then be envisaged to fight effectively against Covid-19 Covid-19. On the market, Anakinra is known as Kineret which is its trade name. It is often prescribed to fight against several forms of infections, including inflammatory diseases.
These include Muckles-wells syndrome, rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis.
A group of 52 patients received the treatment as a test. And at the end of this test treatment, only about a quarter of the patients treated with Anakinra were transferred to intensive care, compared to 73% of those who did not receive this type of treatment.
Indeed, it appears that this treatment is able to act on the cytokine storm. It is in fact an inflammatory mechanism that can cause the immune system to go into overdrive, which researchers generally refer to as the basis of severe forms of Covid-19. At this stage of the disease, several other organs are affected. This is the heart and kidneys.
However, even if the results of the studies carried out are described as “encouraging”, the researchers still maintain a margin of caution, as has been the case since the beginning of the research. And for good reason, the number of patients included in the study on the efficacy of anakinra against the virus remains low and therefore cannot be reliably concluded. So, research is continuing in the same direction, under different conditions and on other patients.
Dexamethasone: The drug that makes real improvements in survival possible
The results of studies testing dexamethasone as a means of treating Covid-19 were published in a release on June 16. Dexamethasone is nothing more than a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is generally used for the treatment of asthma. According to the tests, it reduces by about one third the mortality of the victims of this disease who are hospitalized and present some severe respiratory complications.
This treatment is the very first that has been revealed as the drug that will improve survival in patients who have the virus. This is therefore a rather satisfactory result. The survival benefit is no longer to be demonstrated. Thus, for those patients who are to receive oxygen, the dexamethasone becomes the standard treatment. This major scientific breakthrough was welcomed by the World Health Organization (WHO) which congratulated the British government, the University of Oxford and all the hospitals, research laboratories and patients in the United Kingdom who took part in the studies.
For more information on the research work of the laboratories, go to explicyte.com.
The hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination
The combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin is the treatment that is the source of contradiction and divergent opinions among researchers. It should be noted that hydroxychloroquine is a derivative of chloroquine. After being approved for experimental use in hospitals, hydroxychloroquine treatment has been called into question by a study that found that experimental use shows not only insufficient efficacy, but also dangerous side effects for patients.
The WHO is therefore asking for a halt to all experimentation in order to clarify the drawbacks of this treatment. Research continues, although several other researchers have subsequently questioned the effectiveness of the treatment.