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Drugs Applied in the Therapy of COVID-19

The problem that is getting global during the last three months is the China-originating coronavirus, which is officially named SARS-CoV-2, whereas the disease itself is called COVID-19. The threat of the world pandemic now sounds more than realistic, especially taking into account the fast spread of the disease in Italy. However, the most concern is associated with the outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran as the figures provided by the government of this country are highly questioned by the official bodies of other countries. Insufficient measures taken by Iran for the virus spread prevention and hiding the real number of people infected by the disease don’t allow the responsible organizations to evaluate the real picture.

COVID-19 World Statistics, March 31, 2020

Cases
Recovered
Deaths

Every day new cases of Wuhan coronavirus are registered in new countries. Now the infection has spread to the United States, Australia, the UK, Germany, France, Ireland, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Romania, Belarus, Russia, and other countries. In fact, coronavirus has spread to all the continents. More than 89 000 people got infected. For more than 3 000 people COVID–19 became lethal.

Covid 2019

Such worrying statistics and fast spread of the virus around the globe don’t give the scientists enough time for developing the drugs specially targeted at COVID–19. The treatment is needed now. Therefore, the only way out is to repurpose the already-existing antivirals for the combat with a new viral threat.

Coronavirus Symptoms and Major Threats

The symptoms of a new coronavirus are very similar to those caused by influenza. They are running temperature, cough, and shortness of breath. The major concern for the doctors dealing with the disease is the complications it may provoke. The most common are pneumonia and renal failure, which may result in patient death.

Similar to other flu-like infections, COVID-19 can go in different forms ranging from mild to severe. The group of risk for complications comprises people aged 70 and older. Besides, patients with some chronic health conditions (e.g. heart disease) are also more likely to develop a severe form of the illness.

Young children and people under 30 have the least chances to get infected. Their strong immune system protects them from the disease, and even if they do catch it, they usually have it in a mild form. Some mass media reported of the case when a newborn infected with COVID-19 fully recovered without getting any treatment.

The coronavirus death rate is 3.4%, whereas the rate for the death of influenza is approximately 2%. In both cases, the risks are higher for aged people, which is commonly associated with the chronic health conditions they have because of the age.

The incubational period for the new coronavirus type is 2 – 14 days, though some sources claim that it may show 21 days after exposure. There is also information that the virus can be spread by people who have already recovered from the disease.

Covid 2019

The Search of Treatment

Due to the effective measures taken by the Chinese government for fighting the disease, the scientists got some time to start the trials of the already-existing FDA-approved antivirals for coronavirus treatment. The clinical trials started on January 18. They involve 200 people with a laboratory proved COVID-19.

The medication tested by scientists is called Kaletra. It is a combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir, which is commonly applied in HIV patients’ therapy. This drug, in combination with α-interferon, has already been used by the Chinese doctors in patients with coronavirus. The positive effects of Kaletra’s comprehensive treatment on COVID-19 symptoms were also proved by the Thai and South Korean doctors. They used the preparation in patients with severe forms of the disease. The positive dynamics became visible after two days of treatment. Moreover, this period was enough for the tests to show negative to SARS-CoV-2 in these patients.

Generic Kaletra

The results of the treatment of patients taking part in the experiment will be compared to those of the people who didn’t receive treatment with Kaletra. It is expected that the final stage of the trials will take place at the beginning of April.

Among other drugs that can possibly be effective for the Wuhan-originated virus is Ribavirin. This medication is a broad-acting antiviral, the combinations of which are commonly used for the treatment of hepatitis C. This medication is believed to have certain efficiency against the Wuhan outbreak due to its impact on the RNA synthesis of the virus.

Generic Rebetol

However, it should be kept in mind that either of the mentioned preparations should never be used without the recommendations of your doctor. Because of the side effects both Kaletra and Ribavirin can provoke, it is crucial that the patient should stay under close doctor’s supervision.

Preliminary results found that Aralen may be effective and safe in treating COVID-19 associated pneumonia.

Generic Aralen

New studies have shown that the combination of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax) shortens the duration of infection in patients and is effective in treating COVID-19.

Generic Plaquenil

Generic Zithromax

As of now, there’s no drug with 100% proven efficiency against COVID-19. All the medicines used for the treatment of the now-infected people haven’t been approved neither by the FDA nor by the WHO. The search for the safe and, at the same time, effective treatment for the disease still continues, and by no means should you panic and buy any drugs advertised as the Chinese coronavirus treatment.

WHO Recommended Treatment for COVID-19

The World Health Organization worked out a landscape analysis of therapeutics that can be applied to combat coronavirus of the new type. According to their recommendations, Kaletra, the active components of which are Ritonavir and Lopinavir, should be administered once or twice a day at 500mg dose for two weeks. This dosing regimen significantly differs from the approved safe doses of this drug, which are 400/100mg twice a day. Therefore, it is unacceptable to get on self-treatment with this medication as with the growth of the dose your chances for severe side effects multiply several times.

Kaletra is not the kind of medication that can be used without an extreme need. All the patients taking Ritonavir-Lopinavir combination for the COVID-19 treatment should stay under the close supervision of the medical specialists round the clock.

As for the Ribavirin dose, the WHO recommends taking this drug together with Kaletra. The dosing regimen that is now on the clinical trial consideration is the following: Lopinavir 400mg/Ritonavir 100 mg twice a day + Ribavirin 2.4mg loading dose on the first day of treatment with the dose reduced to 1.2mg every 12 hours starting from the second day of the therapy. The maximum duration of such treatment is 10 days. A case study checks the efficiency and safety of Ribavirin 600mg twice a day plus Kaletra 1000mg once a day.

The situation with Ribavirin intake is exactly the same as it is with Kaletra. You should never take this medication without a doctor’s prescription. Ribavirin is not intended for the prophylaxis of COVID-19. It can only be used as a treatment in the laboratory proved cases of the disease. Round-the-clock monitoring of the patient’s condition is required in such cases.

COVID-19 Protection Measures

To the categories of risk for the new coronavirus belong people who have recently visited China, Iran, or Italy (the major foci of the spread of infection). Besides, you risk getting infected in case you have had personal contact with the person who was later diagnosed with COVID-19.

To prevent the spread of the infection and save yourself from catching the virus, you need to follow some common recommendations stated by the WHO:

  • Keep your hands clean.
  • Avoid direct contact with people who have flu-like symptoms.
  • Wash the surfaces your hands contact with.
  • Avoid touching your mucous membranes (mouth, nose, eyes) if your hands are not clean.
  • Use personal household items if you feel flu-like symptoms.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wear a medical mask in case you have any symptoms associated with the viral infection.
  • Change masks every 2 hours.

Such measures are sufficient and effective as the scientists have already determined that the Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted by airborne droplets. Most importantly, you shouldn’t panic or take medicines you don’t need. Remember, that effective prophylaxis is following the recommendations on the list, not buying or taking the medicines that can be dangerous for you. In case you feel weakness, have a fever, dry cough, and feel trouble breathing, contact your healthcare provider.




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