Last Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) embarked in a global megatrial of coronavirus treatments called SOLIDARITY. The objective is to determine what coronavirus therapy will succeed in treating COVID-19.
This all-out global trial will be one of the largest and concerted effort to gather data and find a cure for the coronavirus epidemic.
Approximately about 15 of the COVID-19 patients have severe symptom. Hospitals are struggling to accommodate everyone. The drugs are mostly repurposed drugs that had success with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Any drug that can cure COVID-19 (formerly SARS-CoV-2) will save the lives of intubated patients. It could be used to protect health personnel in the front lines too. This means less time in the ICU and others can be cured to improve the COVID-19 statistics rate.
The top anti-virals are remdesivir, malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (issues with toxicity is the problem), lopinavir and ritonavir (failed in a small study); and that same combination plus interferon-beta, an immune system messenger that can help cripple viruses.
Patients who take part in SOLIDARITY are confirmed COVID-19 cases. All medical history and their doctors are given a consent form submit to WHO. All the patients are chosen at random too. The available drugs will depend on the hospital, if picked.
Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University Langone Medical Center, adds the process of SOLIDARITY and it saves the caregiver on the front. Most of all, data on patients is valuable though they might be more akin to willing guinea pigs.
A similar trial called Discovery is headed by INSERM in Europe wherein about 3200 patients, 800 from France, will take a cocktail of drugs. The patients will have the vitals recorded and checked to see what best works.
What are the drugs in SOLIDARITY
Here is top choice for drugs that was chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) scientists as possible COVID-19 cure.
This drug is used for Ebola and similar viruses, created by Gilead to specifically fight these diseases. What Remdesivir does is it stops the virus from duplicating itself by stopping key viral enzymes like the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. It worked in some incidences and on similar coronaviruses like SARS and MERS.
Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine
These drugs are famous as possible cure. With that, WHO deems it necessary to conduct a test for this. This works by decreasing the acidit in endosomes which are compartments inside ceslls. Although chloroquines can work against coronavirus, very high dosage is needed which may result to serious toxicities.
This is a combo drug developed to prevent the protease of HIV to replicate in the host cell. It works with other coronaviruses as well. It has cured MERS in primates, tested for SARS and MERS but with unclear results.
Ritonavir/lopinavir and interferon-beta
These anti-virals and a interferon-beta, a molecule that regulates inflammation in the body. Use of interferon-beta on patients with severe COVID-19, can be deadly if given too late, and worsen tissues damage to a severe patient.