New treatments aim to tackle COVID-19 before it turns deadly
Most of these drugs are existing ones, used to tackle other diseases and viral infections. The only two medicines that are known to work on coronavirus, remdesevir and steroids, are generally not administered till a patient has to be admitted.
Camostat myelate, a generallyu safe drug used to treat pancreatitis, is being tried to stop the virus from penetrating into the cells of the airways and respiratory tract. This drug may work only if given immediately after exposure to the virus or in the first couple of days of the infection, blocking the virus from invading the lungs.
Fapivirapir, a drug that can stop the virus from replicating inside the cells of the respiratory tracts, is also being considered for clinical trials. It was originally developed as an anti flu medicine and has been used in some Asian countries, especially Japan, for the same. It is currently authorized in Russia, China and India for emergency use. A trial of fapivirapir is currently underway at the Stanford School of Medicine.
Gilead pharmaceuticals, whose Remdesivir is already being used against coronavirus infections, is also testing its as yet unnamed compound, which has been found to act against coronavirus in cats. Though a trial has not been initiated in humans, Gilead is waiting for the results to see whether the treatment holds promise.