Science continues fight against COVID-19 with promising new treatments

Research on COVID-19 treatments continues to evolve with new molecules potentially effective against this disease, in addition to the various vaccines that already exist. Several large, world-famous pharmaceutical companies are continuing clinical trials to find the drug that will save the world from this pandemic.

Research on COVID-19 treatments continues to evolve with new molecules potentially effective against this disease, in addition to the various vaccines that already exist. Several large, world-famous pharmaceutical companies are continuing clinical trials to find the drug that will save the world from this pandemic.

The French media are keeping abreast of any scientific progress in the treatment of COVID-19. On August 25, during an interview, the President of the Scientific Council mentioned that the drugs against COVID-19 will probably be ready by December. Treatments that will certainly reduce the death rate of the disease, says doctor Jean-François Delfraissy, specialist in immunology. Pharmaceutical company, biotechnology laboratory, and other players in scientific research are working to create, test and validate the drug that will save the world from this scourge. Such a mutual health comparison, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) assesses the proposals of these scientists one by one.

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Potential candidates among already existing molecules

One of the antiviral drugs that may be effective in fighting COVID-19 is Molnupiravir. Originally designed for the treatment of influenza, it was adapted in pill form by Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and the drug company Merck, and appears to be well tolerated by patients in their first clinical trial. Indeed, biomedical analyzes show an undetectable viral load in subjects who took the antiviral, and this only after five days of treatment, against positive results in 26% of patients who received placebos.

Among the list, there is also Actemra or RoActemra having as active principle Tocilizumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the interleukin 6 receptor, an important protein in the inflammatory reaction. It is generally used intravenously in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the symptoms in severe forms of COVID-19 is hyper-inflammation caused by the presence of the virus in the body. Therefore, the use of anti-inflammatory drugs could reduce the number of deaths caused by the infection. After several studies and clinical trials, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the addition of tocilizumab or sarilumab in addition to corticosteroids for severe cases of the disease.

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New treatments based on antibodies directed against the virus itself

Still under evaluation and validation, the treatment is based on the administration of monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies which are specifically designed and directed against SARS-COV 2, or at least an important part of its structure. This will block the replication of the virus in the body. The main objective is to prevent people diagnosed positive from developing a serious form of the disease, requiring admission to the intensive care unit.

In this category, several biotechnology companies proposed the product of their research:

  • XAV-19, developed by the French biotechnology company Xenothera;
  • Ronapreve, by Regeneron and the Roche laboratory, having received a five-month authorization from the French National Authority for Health (HAS) for prophylaxis in immunocompromised patients;
  • AZD7442 from the AstraZeneca group.

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