COVID-19: Treatments and Scientific Discovery

COVID-19: Treatments and Scientific Discovery

Today, I want to focus on educating you about some of the treatments and clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. The community must understand the information disseminated from the sources are factual and not misinformation and falsehoods. 

The scientists working in the field of epidemiology are working to provide you with accurate information. One of the leading recognized authority figures on the use of molecular methods for pathogen discovery, Dr. Ian Lipkin, cautions that science takes time and there are no shortcuts. It is vital to give the scientists time to perform appropriate clinical trials, so they are not subjecting people to expense and risks. Scientists play an essential role during this time of testing and discovery, focusing on evidence-based solutions to protect the public. The FDA has worked with more than 300 test developers who will submit Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) requests for tests that detect the virus.

TREATMENTS AND CLINICAL TRIALS:
There are NO FDA-approved medication treatments, including the recent spiked media discussion of the Quintuple Therapy clinical trial (Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, Vitamin C, D, and Zinc). Several clinical trials are underway and found at ClinicalTrials.gov. Insurance will not cover experimental or clinical trials. You may need urgent or external appeals to get these covered by your insurance plan. 
The following are some of the EUA treatments for clinician use:

  • Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine: $40/50 tablets
  • Remdesivir: $450/dose
  • Tocilizumab IV (Actemra): $1,177/dose
  • Blood Purification Device (no cost provided)

Information is available for clinical use and found at CDC.

The FDA has issued guidance to provide recommendations to health care providers for the use of convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. The convalescent plasma that contains antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is not a new treatment. It was studied during other respiratory outbreaks that is referenced in the issue of JAMA.

Convalescent plasma is not approved by the FDA as it is only an investigational product and there are recommended guidelines for use. For those who qualify for a donation, you can search for FDA-registered blood establishments.

SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY:
Scientists believe that the majority of the people who are infected don’t have symptoms or suffer only mild symptoms. There is a question of immunity to this disease and why some people react differently. We have remarkable immune systems, but everyone has a different experience if exposed to the virus. Scientists have not concluded that if you are exposed to the virus, then you have immunity. There may be genetic factors contributing to who contracts it as well. Scientists don’t know if we are contracting the virus from repeated long exposure or getting a significant amount in your system in one exposure. More studies and peer reviews need to be conducted on the COVID-19 virus in air samples.

SO, WHEN IS THIS ALL GOING TO END?
Experts in the field don’t have an answer to that question but believe a vaccine will be what puts a definitive end to the virus. A vaccine requires large-scale testing and clinical trials to determine if it is effective. The FDA gives daily updates and warnings of fraudulent offers for cures and treatments.

Testing (tests to determine the presence of the virus in your system and/or antibody tests to identify if you were infected and have recovered) individuals for the coronavirus will play an essential part in returning to normalcy. The FDA has not authorized any COVID-19 antibody testing but is supportive of developing this for consumer safety and test accuracy. In the short-term social distancing, hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting your home are the best defenses to acquiring the virus. Here are some helpful cleaning tips from the CDC.