Many scientists and physicians around the world are developing and testing drugs that will work against COVID-19. While some existing products may at least help patients, according to early studies, experts put their hope to US drug called REMDESIVIR, which is also being developed by Czech scientists.
One of the first tests included the antiviral Kaletra, which is used to treat HIV and should work as a Coronavirus Vaccine in a future. However, a Chinese experiment in 199 patients showed that the drug did not alleviate the symptoms of the disease or reduce mortality, according to research findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. Avigan from Fujifilm, Japan, was better at fighting coronavirus. A study in 80 patients showed that their body got rid of coronavirus on average one week earlier than in patients receiving an anti-HIV drug. Also, the lungs of patients treated with Avigan were in better condition after the disease.
However, the results of both studies may not be fully comparable. The tests for the Japanese drug were later, so it is possible that at that time physicians had a better idea of how to treat coronavirus infected patients, Bloomberg quoted Umer Raffat, an analyst at Evercore ISI.
Will REMDESIVIR be the best cure for Coronavirus?
In any case, the World Health Organization considers Remdesivir as the “most promising cure for coronavirus“. A drug that stops the multiplication of viruses was developed by a team of the American company Gilead Sciences led by Czech Tomas Cihlar.
Originally intended to treat Ebola, but when its epidemic in West Africa subsided, drug tests were discontinued. However, earlier experiments have shown that remdesivir also acted on SARS and MERS diseases that cause SARS-CoV-2 related coronaviruses.
The Wall Street Journal wrote in early February that it was probably due to remdesivir that cured the first infected in the US. Remdesivir cure was also given to a woman in critical condition in the United States, and she was subsequently cured. Clinical trials in the US began a few days ago, and doctors want to involve 400 patients from 50 countries.
The first results of coronavirus treatment should be known at the end of March. The use of remdesivir to patients in critical condition has also been authorized by the Czech Republic. This was requested by the General Teaching Hospital and Gilead Sciences decides on the inclusion of the patient in the experiment.
Patients must also agree to coronavirus treatment with the experimental drug. Meanwhile, the National Institute for Drug Control is negotiating to include more Czech patients in the program. In the meantime, the Brno National Tissue and Cell Center has offered the government its use of its developed medicinal product to help patients with severe lung damage.
This is what causes SARS-CoV-2 in the event of a severe course of the disease. The organization is ready to “deliver doses immediately to several patients who are in critical condition with an acute course of respiratory disease”, the center said in a press release.
Do we get Coronavirus immunity?
Meanwhile, there are studies suggesting that humanity could cope with Wuchan coronavirus in the future. Indeed, an experiment by Chinese scientists on monkeys, reported in the bioRxiv journal, showed that their organism can build up immunity to COVID-19.
Scientists have infected four macaques with coronavirus. One of them was killed during the experiment, a subsequent autopsy showed that the virus had spread throughout his body and visibly damaged his lungs.
The other three monkeys recovered within a month. Two of them have tried to infect a second time. This time, their bodies responded only to a short-term elevated temperature, despite researchers injecting high doses of virus into their bodies that they could not encounter in the real world.
After two weeks, the cynomolgus monkeys had no trace of virus, but on the other hand, a large number of antibodies pecked in their blood. This shows that the immune system of the monkeys was already ready for the second infection.
It is not yet clear whether the same mechanism works in humans. Some patients who had recovered from COVID-19 had positive tests again a few days after leaving hospital. However, the authors of the Chinese experiment claim that these people might have been declared cured before they recovered altogether, or that tests before hospital discharge showed a false negative result.
Coronavirus Vaccine? NOT earlier than several months
Dozens of teams around the world are also working to develop a Wuchan coronavirus vaccine. The American Society of Moderna has already started the first clinical trials, but these are in the first stage conducted on healthy volunteers to show that the product does not have side effects. Only later will hundreds of healthy people from areas affected by coronavirus be vaccinated. This is to confirm that the vaccine works.
For example, research by the German company Curevac also appears promising. “With positive developments, we could start conducting clinical trials early in the summer,” said one of the owners of Dietmar Hopp. Curevac hopes that the vaccine approval process could be shortened due to the situation and vaccination would be available in the fall. Normally vaccine development takes months to years.