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COVID-19: List Of Drugs That May Fight Coronavirus Symptoms

According to recent reports by WHO, there are 4,256,123 COVID-19 cases around the world, with 287,336 deaths. On a hopeful note, 1,527,617 have recovered. The need to find a vaccine or a possible medicine that could treat the coronavirus is significant [1].

Researchers and health experts around the globe are ardently focused on studying the novel coronavirus, where new findings and understanding help in the better management of the diseases, and also pave way for the development of a possible treatment method.

Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

Today, we will go over all the different drugs that are being tested for COVID-19 treatment.


Finding A Medicine To Treat COVID-19

Currently, there are no medicines that can prevent or cure COVID-19, and researchers are testing and developing new therapeutic options. However, there are certain medications, that are already available, that can help alleviate mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms [2].

The following list contains medications that may relieve mild COVID-19 symptoms, also experimental antiviral drugs and other COVID-19 treatments that are currently still under development.


1. Remdesivir - Ebola Drug

The drug remdesivir, an experimental drug developed by Gilead Sciences Inc. Remdesivir was originally developed to treat hepatitis C and was then tested against Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease - where the preliminary results were promising. Researchers and health authorities are currently evaluating the safety and efficacy of remdesivir for adults with moderate or severe COVID-19 [3].

On 29 April, Gilead Sciences Inc. announced that in Phase 3 of the drug application, Covid-19 patients have recovered from the disease. More than half of patients in both treatment groups were discharged from the hospital by Day 14 of the medicine application [4].


2. Hydroxychloroquine And Chloroquine - Malaria Drug

Hydroxychloroquine was one of the most common terms discussed in the early weeks of April, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Hydroxychloroquine is a prescription drug which comes in the form of oral tablets and can be used as part of combination therapy and is used in the treatment of malaria [5]. And chloroquine phosphate is an antimalarial and amebicide drug that is used in the treatment and prevention of malaria and amebiasis, an infection of the intestines with a parasite called Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica) [6].

Hydroxychloroquine May Cause Low Blood Sugar

While the FDA has not approved either of these medications for treating COVID-19, an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine was issued for drugs - approval of the drug's use in certain cases [7].


3. Favipiravir - Influenza Drug

This drug has been proven effective against RNA viruses, such as influenza and rhinovirus [8], and also acts as preventive medicine for Ebola virus infections. A research team is currently investigating the safety and efficacy of favipiravir for treating moderate COVID-19 [9].


4. Kaletra - HIV Drug

The HIV drug Kaletra has been in use for months in hospitals in Wuhan where the drug is being prescribed along with a second drug, bismuth potassium citrate [10]. It is stated that the drug can help reduce the viral load of those who are infected by the coronavirus disease.


5. Interferon Beta - Lung Disease Drug

The antiviral drug is commonly used in cases where the cause of an infection is unknown [11]. As it had shown effectiveness in fighting SARS, Interferon Beta is being tested for COVID-19. The drug helps prevent immune attacks by blocking the action and help reduce inflammation and the body's immune reaction [12]. It has also been proven effective in the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis [13].


6. Acetaminophen - Pain Reliever

Acetaminophen is an analgesic (pain-releiving drug) that help relieve minor aches and pains due to headache, muscular aches, backache, minor pain of arthritis, the common cold, toothache, and premenstrual and menstrual cramps [14]. It is also used to manage fever.

The WHO had recommended using acetaminophen to help reduce fever and aches and pains related to this coronavirus infection [15].


7. Losartan - Blood Pressure Drug

Losartan is a generic blood-pressure medication, which is currently under study for helping patients with COVID-19 [16]. The high blood pressure medicine works by blocking a receptor that can raise blood pressure. Like the nature of any other study, the research on the relation between COVID-19 and hypertension medication also had conflicting views where some researchers have suggested hypertension medication as a potential treatment for COVID-19, while some proposed it may increase the complications [17].

COVID-19 & Hypertension


8. Over-the-counter Cough Medicine

Initially, some researchers had pointed out that over-the-counter cough medicines aren't effective in treating mild COVID-19 symptoms. But current theories state that these medicines can be tried [18]. Studies are currently undergoing [19].


9. Plasma Therapy

Another treatment, while not a drug, that has shown promise in COVID-19 treatment is plasma therapy [20]. The method uses convalescent plasma which is extracted from the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients, that is said to contain antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2.

Disulfiram, a drug used in the treatment of alcoholism is also being studied as it was used in the SARS and MERS outbreaks and helps to produce an immune response [21]. Diarrhoea medicine, loperamide is being considered in the treatment for COVID-19 as diarrhoea has now been listed as one of the symptoms of COVID-19 [22].A head lice drug, called Ivermectin wasfound to have the potential to be used as a possible treatment for the COVID-19 disease [23].


On A Final Note…

Over-the-counter and prescription medication can help alleviate mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, inflammation and muscle aches. COVID-19 is currently a major health challenge, and doctors and researchers around the globe are ardently working towards developing effective and safe medicines and vaccines.

Story first published: Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 15:30 [IST]
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