Scientists around the world are racing to find the best medicine for COVID-19

The new coronavirus pandemic has been going on for three months, but it’s not clear which drug will fight the virus,media The Verge reported. With the development of public health, the scientific community is looking for answers at an unprecedented rate. When the new coronavirus raged in China in January and February, researchers and doctors quickly conducted dozens of clinical trials to test existing drugs for COVID-19 caused by the new coronavirus. But so far, studies in China have not yielded enough data to draw a definitive answer.

Scientists around the world are racing to find the best medicine for COVID-19

“We commend researchers around the world for working together to systematically evaluate experimental therapies,” WHO Director-General Tan Desai said in a press release. “Multiple small trials using different methods may not provide us with clear and strong evidence of which treatments we need to save lives. “

To gain “clear and strong evidence”, WHO is conducting a multi-country clinical trial to test four drug therapies for COIVD-19 therapy: an experimental antiviral drug called ridsevir, the antimalarial drug chloroquine (or associated hydroxychloroquine), and two HIV drugs, As well as the same two HIV drugs as well as anti-inflammatory interferon beta.

The trial will be flexible and can be added or removed over time for other treatments. That makes it look similar to an adaptive trial that the American Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases began in the U.S. in February, which was originally designed to test Ridsiewe, but could be extended to other drugs. The United States is not currently involved in the WHO trial.

Hundreds of other clinical trials are under way, and other teams are continuing to test the drugs chosen by the WHO – a classification of some of the drugs that researchers are studying.

chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

The study found that hydroxychloroquine and associated chloroquine can prevent the new coronavirus from became infected in laboratory cells, and evidence suggests that it can help PATIENTs with COVID-19. Scientists have experience with the drug because it has been an antimalarial drug for decades. “It’s a known drug,” said Caleb Skipper, a postdoctoral researcher on infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota, who is conducting smaller trials of the drug. “Laboratory data over the past few years have rarely shown that the drug is antiviral. “

Skipper’s trial is looking at whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent people exposed to the virus from developing into a serious disease. They hope to recruit high-risk health care providers exposed to the virus to participate in the trials.

Scientists around the world are racing to find the best medicine for COVID-19

Skipper says the goal is to introduce the drug into the human system as soon as possible. “Especially for viruses, the earlier your ability to suppress virus replication, the better your condition will be.” If a drug works, it is more likely to work in the early stages of the disease. He said. “If you can find someone early and provide treatment, there will be much less early virus replication. “

Skipper said the available evidence on hydroxychloroquine points in the right direction, but all research on the drug is still at a very early stage. “There is a long way to go before it proves effective,” he said. “

Despite the limited evidence available, public figures, including Elon Musk and Trump, are promoting the message that oxychloroquine and chloroquine are the solutions for the new coronavirus. “I feel good about it,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference on Friday. It’s just a feeling of mine. You know, I’m a smart guy. I feel good. You’ll see it soon. “

Similar hype has led to a surge in demand for drugs, and manufacturers are increasing production. Two Nigerians have been poisoned by overuse of the drug after Trump said chloroquine could cure COVID-19. Those who use it for other diseases, such as lupus, are struggling to get their usual supply.

It is clear that there is still no conclusive evidence that chloroquine can treat COVID-19. And, according to anecdotes or “feelings” seemingly promising treatments, it’s not usually going to work, as scientists know: most clinical trials have failed, and they’ve seen a strengthening of coronavirus treatment.


In February, doctors in Thailand said they had cured patients with new coronary pneumonia by combining Lopinavir/Litonavir with anti-flu drugs. WHO is testing the combination of the drug in their trials, as well as anti-inflammatory interferon beta, which is naturally produced in the human body and protects against the virus. During SARS and MERS outbreaks, the combination of the drug appears to help in patients.

But a clinical trial of the two drugs in China has just found that patients with new coronary pneumonia who take them did not improve faster than those who did not.

The study, published this week, focused on a group of 199 seriously ill patients, which may have contributed to the drug’s ineffectiveness – and those who are already seriously ill. But Timothy Sheahan, a coronavirus expert and an assistant professor at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said he wasn’t surprised the drug didn’t work. “We’ve done the work on that particular drug,” he said. The fact that it failed is exactly the same as what we have done in the past. “

Scientists around the world are racing to find the best medicine for COVID-19


The antiviral drug Redcivir was originally developed to treat the Ebola virus, but later studies have shown that it can also block MERS and SARS in cells. Laboratory tests have shown that it can also suppress new coronaviruses in cells.

There is also anecdotal evidence that ridsieve can help treat COVID-19 patients, but this does not guarantee that clinical trials will show it is better than placebo. That’s why the data on drugs collected through WHO trials, adaptive trials in the U.S. and other studies is so important: Before putting them on a large scale, doctors must make sure they’re actually effective.

Other drugs

Although the WHO trial is not an integral part, some researchers and reports suggest that clinical trialresults show efficacy against the new coronavirus. Although data on these drug trials have not yet been released, Japan is studying the drug more closely. Based on the drug’s antiviral activity in cells, Sheahan said he would be surprised if the drug ultimately works. He says it doesn’t work for MERS in cells, and MERS is similar to a new coronavirus.

In addition, some pharmaceutical companies are seeking to re-use anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve lung inflammation in patients with COIVD-19 critical conditions. Other labels protect editts, and people develop their efforts to develop the virus after infection in the manufacture of treatments.

Clinical trials take time to collect data correctly, so there is no specific evidence until next month or later. Patients have accepted these drugs by using a program that allows doctors to order experimental drugs in certain circumstances and outside of labels, in which case the doctor will prescribe prescription drugs without permission. However, before determining the conclusions of the best course of action, it is necessary to ensure that the clinical trial process is carried out simultaneously to ensure that the patient can be treated on the basis of evidence.

A large number of trials around the world for each particular treatment will provide researchers with more data available for collaboration and data from different populations. “The more people you can show that a particular intervention is useful or ineffective, the greater the value,” Skipper said. The more data available, the better. “