Despite the great effort made in the development of vaccines for COVID-19, the options of therapies and drugs, so far, are very limited. If we take into account that vaccination will be a long process, that it has deficiencies, that new variants appear periodically that put the efficacy of vaccines at risk and that many people, for different reasons, cannot be vaccinated, the solution to effectively combat SARS -CoV-2 would find a definitive treatment.
Medications currently used against COVID-19
To shorten times and costs, the drugs used so far are drugs that were already used for other pathologies. For example, doctors use corticosteroids (dexamethasone) and remdesivir (an Ebola drug) for critical cases.
Other medications, although they have been applied, have not shown definitive results in clinical trials: interferon, lopinavir, hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, colchicine, aplidine, among other antitumor drugs and monoclonal antibodies
The international studies of Solidarity (WHO) and Recovery (UK), they only found evidence of efficacy with dexamethasone alone.
New drugs with old compounds
Scientists continue to research new therapies, but there is still a shortage of advanced antiviral and anti-infective compounds, as it is necessary to find a compound that is shown to prevent the development of the disease.
Recently, researchers from the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, United States) have developed massive phenotypic screening, which helps to Identify known drugs that could be used against COVID-19.
Among the most promising compounds, they found antivirals nelfinavir and the prodrug MK-4482. Both have shown efficacy in reducing virus replication in primary cultures of human epithelial bronchial cells.
The compound MK-4482, showed in an animal model which blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection very effectively. It is currently under study to analyze its efficacy and safety in humans.
The scientific community continues its search for repositioning drugs, those that have already been used for other diseases, which makes it possible to shorten distances and find a solution that can be, in addition to being effective, quick. But there are also efforts in the development of new generation drugs, those who have a long way to go, to prove their efficacy and to pass several stages of safety trials.
According to the researchers, the important thing is to get an arsenal of antivirals that are capable of fighting against SARS-CoV-2. And if by the way, these serve for other future developments, much better still.
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