U.S. researchers, following the lead of scientists in other nations, have commissioned studies to see whether broadly-available, low-cost generic drugs can be utilized to help deal with the illness attributable to the novel coronavirus.
There are at present no vaccines or therapies for the highly-contagious COVID-19 respiratory sickness, so sufferers can only obtain supportive care for now.
However, a 1,500-person trial, led by the University of Minnesota, started this week to see whether malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine can forestall or reduce the severity of COVID-19. Two other trials are studying the blood pressure drug losartan as a possible treatment for the illness.
The malaria drug, additionally being tested in China, France and Australia, was lauded earlier this week by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, who recovered from malaria in 2000 after taking medicine.
Besides having a direct antiviral effect, hydroxychloroquine suppresses the production and launch of proteins involved in the inflammatory issues of a number of viral diseases.
Most people infected with the new coronavirus develop only normal flu-like symptoms; however, around 20% can have more extreme disease that may lead to pneumonia requiring hospitalization.
A French group Tuesday mentioned initial outcomes from a 24-patient trial of hydroxychloroquine confirmed that 25% of patients given the drug still carried the coronavirus after six days, in contrast with 90% of patients given a placebo.