A new treatment idea for COVID-19 is possible after the discovery of the reason why the virus is so dangerous. The pathogen camouflages itself after infecting cells to prevent a swift response from the immune system. An enzyme the virus produces that tricks cells into believing the viral RNA belongs there has been identified. This mechanism delays the immune response and allows the virus to replicate inside cells. Therapies targeting the enzyme could prevent the pathogen from hiding in plain sight.
Link to article https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17496-8
A pre-print of the results of a study of 386 coronavirus patients in a US government hospital for military veterans found more deaths among those treated with hydroxychloroquine than those treated with standard care. These findings highlight the importance of awaiting the results of ongoing prospective, randomized, controlled studies before widespread adoption of this drug, say the authors of the study.
Link to article: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.16.20065920v2
In a joint statement on April 8, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Heart Rhythm Society cast doubts as to the safety of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for potential prophylaxis or treatment for COVID-19; both drugs are listed as definite causes of torsade de pointes” and increase in the risk of other arrhythmias and sudden death”, the statement says. In addition “seriously ill patients often have comorbidities that can increase risk of serious arrhythmias,” including hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, fever, and systemic inflammation, the groups said.
Link to PDF:
Considerations for Drug Interactions on QTc in Exploratory COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Treatment
How does COVID-19 kill? Uncertainty over whether it is the virus itself — or the response by a person’s immune system — that ultimately overwhelms a patient’s organs, is making it difficult for doctors to determine the best way to treat patients who are critically ill with the coronavirus. Clinical data suggest that the immune system plays a part in the decline and death of people infected with the new coronavirus, and this has spurred a push for treatments such as steroids that rein in that immune response. But some of these treatments act broadly to suppress the immune system.
Link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01056-7
A new preliminary study shows a single 200 mL dose of convalescent plasma (CP) from COVID-19 patients who recently recovered shortened the duration of symptoms, improved oxygen levels and increased the clearance of the virus in patients who were still suffering from the disease. “One dose of convalescent plasma with a high concentration of neutralizing antibodies can rapidly reduce the viral load and tends to improve clinical outcomes”.
Study showed that a single dose of the drug, Ivermectin, could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture – effectively eradicating all genetic material of the virus within 48 hours. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that has also been shown to be effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza and Zika virus.
Link to study: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166354220302011
This is a systematic literature review summarizing the available evidence regarding the role of chloroquine in treating coronavirus infection. It says there is theoretical, experimental, preclinical and clinical evidence of the effectiveness of chloroquine in patients affected with COVID-19. There is adequate evidence of drug safety from the long-time clinical use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in other indications. More data from ongoing and future trials will add more insight into the role of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 infection it concludes.
Link to article: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.24.20042366v1
An article from the publishers of Science on 22 March on WHO megatrials. WHO is focusing on what it says are the four most promising therapies: an experimental antiviral compound called remdesivir; the malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine; a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir, and ritonavir; and that same combination plus interferon-beta, an immune system messenger that can help cripple viruses.
Link to article: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/who-launches-global-megatrial-four-most-promising-coronavirus-treatments
Unusually, we include a Twitter feed here as it represents a good analysis of the efficacy of the antimalarial drug chloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. It is from Dr. Gaetan Burgio, a geneticist at the Australian National University who dug into the available & published data and reveals that as of this date the evidence remains anecdotal and a clinical trial is incomplete and not following scientific rigour. More research is needed.
Link to Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/GaetanBurgio/status/1241201751916568576
A popular article from the publishers of Nature describing ongoing research that hopes that the antibody-laden blood of those who have recovered from coronavirus might reduce severe infections. It is as yet unknown if it will work.
Link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00895-8
A discussion of whether hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are an effective treatment for COVID-19 based on the latest research and knowledge.
Link to article: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/are-hydroxychloroquine-and-azithromycin-an-effective-treatment-for-covid-19/