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It has been six months now that COVID-19 has continued to cripple the world. Globally over 51 lakh persons across

COVID-19

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 May 2020 3:08 AM GMT

It has been six months now that COVID-19 has continued to cripple the world. Globally over 51 lakh persons across have tested positive so far, while the virus has so far claimed over 3.31 lakh human lives. In India, over 1.12 lakh have tested positive, while the death toll is a little short of 3,500. The good news however is that while over two lakh people have been cured and discharged in different countries, those cured and discharged in India has crossed the 45,000 mark. While World Health Organization has declared it as a global pandemic, a drug to cure it has continued to elude the world despite the best efforts put in by the scientists community. WHO and is partners had in March launched 'Solidarity' – an international clinical trial – to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19. The WHO website says, Solidarity Clinical Trial will compare four treatment options against standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19. By enrolling patients in multiple countries, the Solidarity Trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival. Other drugs can be added based on emerging evidence. While over 90 countries have confirmed their participation in the trial, the four most promising therapies included in the trial are – Remdesivir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir with interferon beta and Chloroquine. The Solidarity Trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow the disease progression or improve survival. But then, WHO has cautioned that until there is sufficient evidence, physicians and medical associations should not recommend or administer these unproven treatments to patients with COVID-19 or people self-medicating with them. What is most important is WHO has also expressed concern over reports of individuals self-medicating with chloroquine and causing themselves serious harm. In India on the other hand, a clinical trial has begun to evaluate whether the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, given together with the antibiotic azithromycin, can prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, and is being conducted by the NIAID-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). According to the NIH, there are currently no specific therapeutics approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat people with COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine is FDA-approved to prevent and treat malaria, as well as to treat the autoimmune diseases rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Some preliminary reports have suggested that hydroxychloroquine, alone or in combination with the FDA-approved antibiotic azithromycin, may benefit people with COVID-19. But then these are purely 'preliminary' reports, and require the final seal of the WHO. Given this scenario, the best available option to tackle the pandemic is to prevent the spread of the virus by maintaining social distancing, using a mask, frequent hand-washing, stopping spitting in public spaces, and increasing the immune system.

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