Covid-19 Drugs: Giving Scientists Hope

Updated April 20, 2021, 3:59 pm

  • The whole world is talking about a vaccine against Corona virusThe number of injuries continues to rise.
  • Which Medicines Help Fight Covid-19? What are the treatments used in clinics?
  • We explain what is currently being researched and how you can protect yourself from infection.

You can find more current information on Coronavirus here

Of all those infected with corona, between five and ten percent of patients are forced to do so due to the severe course Covid-19 Treated in the clinic. Therefore most patients will have to pass the infection at home. In many cases, a cycle can be compared to a cold with flu-like symptoms, often accompanied by a loss of the sense of taste and smell.

Treatments for improving the condition are nonspecific and symptomatic. Medicines used to relieve symptoms. “Paracetamol, Novalgin or Ibuprofen, for example, can be prescribed to people who have a high temperature, headache, and body aches,” explains Caroline Eisner. She is the chief physician at the Clinic for Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the Vivantes Auguste Viktoria Clinic in Berlin.

Ibuprofen can now be taken again without hesitation, even during the acute phase. “The initial assumption that it might adversely affect the course of disease has not been confirmed in other studies,” says the infection specialist. On the other hand, prophylactic treatment in an outpatient setting with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is not currently recommended.

Coronavirus: two stages of the disease – two treatments

Warning signs that the disease is getting worse are shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion, and blue discolouration of the skin, lips, or nail bed. These are signs of a lack of oxygen. In this case, an acute course is indicated and with it the need for hospital care.

In outpatient treatment, doctors rely heavily on drugs that have been developed for other diseases. There is not just one effective drug. Because COVID-19 operates in so many stages, medical treatment relies on completely different aspects.

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At the beginning of the infection, the virus enters and multiplies. Caroline Eisner explains that “antivirals and antibody therapies, which aim to intercept and weaken the virus, are mainly used here.”

About six to ten days after infection, the immune system disruption phase begins in severely ill patients, leading to uncontrolled overreactions of the immune system. Anti-inflammatory drugs are used in the treatment, especially corticosteroids. In particular, the drug dexamethasone is being used, explains Dr. Thomas Grünewald, Head of the Infection and Tropical Medicine Clinic at the Chemnitz Clinic. Otherwise, symptomatic therapy is mostly used.

Often used drugs immunosuppressants

Dexamethasone is known for its immunosuppressive effect, which is also used in other autoimmune diseases. “In large-scale randomized studies, the death rate has decreased by 25 to 35 percent, which is the best study result of all known treatments against Covid-19 to date,” says Caroline Eisner. However, dexamethasone is only useful in patients who require oxygen therapy during the course of the disease.

Another problem that Covid-19 patients face is vitamin D deficiency. According to a Spanish study in a clinic in Santander, more than 80 percent of patients are infected. Vitamin D is important for a strong immune system, calcium balance, and bone health. With cortisone therapy, high-dose vitamin D is given in clinics to maintain bone health. “There are also indications that replacing vitamin D leads to faster elimination of the virus and reduced deaths,” says the infectious disease specialist in Berlin, but stresses that there is not enough certainty yet for this.

Immune dysregulation also increases the tendency for blood to clot in some patients, which is why heparin is used to intensify anticoagulation upon admission to hospital. However, the doctor notes that according to the current study case, Covid patients are not benefiting from heparin therapy.

Remdesivir disappointed: what helped less or not

So much for the current situation. In the fight against COVID-19, many other drugs have been used last year. For example, the anti-malarial drug chloroquine, the HIV drug lopinavir / ritonavir, the anti-inflammatory antibiotic azithromycin, and gout colchicine, all of which showed no benefit in studies.

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Infection scientist Eisner says: “As a virus inhibitor, we used the only approved drug for COVID-19, Remdesivir, which was promising in the beginning, but disappointed in subsequent studies.” Ultimately, the World Health Organization (WHO) also spoke out against the use of remdesivir at the end of last year. The anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab also yielded contradictory results for the study.

Medicines research against COVID-19 continues around the world

Research is being done all over the world on new drugs against Covid-19. USA provides an overview of ongoing projects Milken Institute And the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Researchers (VfA) on frequently updated websites.

The research focuses on four groups.

  • Antiviral medications are designed to prevent viruses from entering or reproducing in your body’s cells
  • Cardiovascular medications are designed to protect blood vessels and organs from complications of COVID-19
  • In the advanced stages of the disease, suppressed immune systems aim to reduce the body’s defense reactions so that they do not cause more harm than the viruses themselves.
  • Lung function medications should help the lungs maintain their function during acute infection and regenerate thereafter with minimal consequences.

When it comes to medication, hope rests on nasal sprays. Scientists at Oxford University have been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of nasal spray for asthma combined with cortisone budesonide against COVID-19. According to the magazine “The scalpel“A published study, the likelihood of an acute course could be reduced by 90 percent in patients who inhaled the active substance.

These anti-inflammatory sprays are only useful at an early stage. Corticosteroids are also given to severely ill hospital patients – albeit intravenously or in pill form at a much higher dosage than what asthma sprays contain.

What the antibodies are supposed to do

Another way to reduce the reproduction of viruses, These are antibody treatments. It is given intravenously in the form of artificially produced antibodies or human antibodies, for example via blood plasma transfusions. “Some antibody treatments show promising results, while others showed no benefit in the results of the initial study,” says Caroline Eisner. When using these remedies, a very early point at the time of administration is also important.

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An American study showed significant benefit among nursing home residents who were given antibodies once an outbreak appeared. However, these treatments are expensive and should be carefully checked before using them, according to the doctor. “Its use appears to be particularly reasonable for patients who have an increased risk of serious disease and a very weak immune system, such as the elderly, lung patients, obesity, and diabetics.”

It can also be read that high doses of Vitamin C should help fight COVID-19. Some study results indicate that it shortens disease duration and reduces the risk of death in critically ill pneumonia patients. However, these high-risk patients often have hypovitaminosis anyway. Therefore it is uncertain whether higher doses of vitamin C provide additional protection against viruses or only compensate for a patient’s vitamin deficiency.

Reducing stress can protect from corona

And how can healthy people – in addition to observing the rules of distance and hygiene – protect themselves from Corona infection? “The main factors that contribute to strengthening the immune system and that are often underestimated are avoiding or reducing stress and getting enough sleep,” says Caroline Eisner. Permanently elevated stress hormones in the body weaken the immune defense. “During sleep, we break down these hormones and help the immune system regenerate,” she says.

Exercise regularly and Follow a healthy dietTo avoid obesity, it also helps in strengthening the body’s defenses. Chemnitz infection scientist Thomas Grunwald also recommends avoiding daily alcohol and nicotine abuse.

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