US researchers, following the lead of scientists in other countries, have launched studies to see whether widely-available, low-cost generic drugs can be used to help treat the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
There are currently no vaccines or treatments for the highly-contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness, so patients can only receive supportive care for now.
But a 1,500-person trial, led by the University of Minnesota, began this week to see whether malaria treatment can prevent or reduce the severity of COVID-19. Two other trials are studying the blood pressure drug possible treatment for the disease.
The malaria drug, also being tested in China, Australia, and France, was touted earlier this week by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, who recovered from malaria in 2000 after taking the medication.
Besides having a direct antiviral effect, hydroxychloroquine suppresses the production and release of proteins involved in the inflammatory complications of several viral diseases.
“We are trying to leverage the science to see if we can do something in addition to minimizing contacts,” said Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs. “Results are likely in weeks, not months.”
Most people infected with the new coronavirus develop only mild flu-like symptoms, but around 20% can have more severe disease that can lead to pneumonia requiring hospitalization.
Kaynak :Reuters Health News