Ebola Drug to Combat COVID-19?
Due to the fear and mass hysteria resulting from the mass spread of COVID-19, the government, and researchers around the world have been touting prospective treatments to cure COVID-19. The scientific community around the world has made significant developments since the virus’ initial outbreak. Doctors and medical researchers have been working tirelessly to combine different combinations of drugs and compositions to best combat the effects of COVID-19. A number of these innovations are currently being investigated through compassionate use programs allowing doctors to implement such treatments in minimal and emergency situations. One of the select drugs discussed by the public and throughout the scientific community is referred to as remdesivir. Remdesivir was one of the original drugs administered and researched in the effort to treat COVID-19. Remdesivir is touted as a drug that will reduce the intensity and duration of the virus in a person who is infected. This prospective treatment has been studied and developed in labs in the hopes of curing several other outbreaks such as SARS, MERS, but was ineffective. Similarly, during the Ebola outbreak, researchers were given the opportunity and resources to further study biological effects of remdesivir. Although it was ineffective in treating Ebola, researchers continued to evaluate and study the drug to treat a future viral outbreak. In January 2020, when the first person diagnosed in the United States with COVID-19 after traveling to Wuhan, China reported to a hospital Washington state, the experimental chemical composition was rushed to the hospital on a compassionate use program to treat or alleviate his symptoms. To the doctor’s surprise, after they administered the patient Remdesivir, he was found to have recovered. Since early January, researchers have continued to distribute a very small number of doses to hospitals around the world under the compassionate use program. Moreover, since the outbreak has become increasingly widespread throughout the country, the researchers behind remdesivir have used the instance of success to gain FDA approval to conduct isolated clinical trials in the hopes of discovering a possible treatment for COVID-19. Currently, as of March 31, 2020, the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases and the Center for Disease Control have reported promising results from remdesivir during the animal testing phase the clinical research process. As a result, various national health agencies and researchers behind remdesivir have begun to conduct clinical trials with those who have tested positive for COVID-19. Presently, the clinical trial is expanding to 440 people in 75 different medical centers including University of California Irvine, and University of Texas. The trial will evaluate the drugs effect in those infected with COVID-19 but having mild symptoms to those who are extremely ill with accompanying respiratory illnesses. Although the prospects of remdesivir as a treatment for the COVID-19 may sound exciting, even the researchers who have been developing this drug admit it is nowhere near ready to be considered as a top of the line drug to treat the virus. As of March 31, 2020, there has been 719,700 positive cases reported, including nearly 140,640 in the United States.
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