GP and former deputy chair of the British Medical Association Dr Kailash Chand continues his series of articles to inform and update the public
Are there effective treatments for COVID-19? Vaccines to protect against the virus?
What we know so far:
- Treatment for COVID-19 is primarily supportive care, including mechanical ventilation and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection as appropriate
- Preliminary reports from two clinical trials in China suggest that Favipiravir improves lung function and reduces recovery time in COVID-19 patients
- Early results suggest that Tocilizumab may be effective at treating severe COVID-19 cases
- Press reports of a small clinical trial suggest that chloroquine is effective at reducing symptom duration
- Combination Lopinavir and Ritonavir with standard care was no more effective than standard care alone
- Corticosteroids are commonly given to COVID-19 patients at risk of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), but their use is not recommended by the US CDC
- Multiple entities are working to produce a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, including NIH/NIAID, Moderna Therapeutics and Gilead Sciences, and Sanofi with HHS. Moderna has begun phase 1 clinical vaccine trials in humans in Washington state
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has developed potential SARS-CoV-2 antibody therapies
- The development of a coronavirus fusion inhibitor in the lab suggests efficacy across multiple human coronaviruses
- Takeda Pharma in Japan is working to create antibody treatments based on infected patient plasma
The pandemic has also highlighted the fact that the population of the UK, like that of many developed nations, is in a poor state of health, with conditions such as diabetes and obesity prevalent.
Improving lifestyle, increasing exercise and eating more healthily will improve our ability to fight off this and other infections. As a quick step, heavy doses of vitamin C will help boost the immune system.
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