Antiviral drugs are critical in the fight against COVID-19. But what are antivirals, and how exactly do they work?
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As the novel coronavirus sweeps across the globe, many are looking to repurpose antivirals that have already gone through rigorous trial and approval processes to treat other diseases rather than develop new drugs to treat COVID-19.
And while there’s no definitive evidence that either are effective treatments for COVID-19, you’ve likely heard murmurs and mentions of the antimalarial chloroquine and the derivative hydroxychloroquine in the discussions surrounding the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
So, what exactly are antivirals and what do they have to do with tackling COVID-19?
Take a closer look at the role antivirals play and learn how they differ from vaccines in this Elements.
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The Best Hopes for a Coronavirus Drug
“Much of the early research into drugs against COVID-19 has focused on repurposing existing drugs because they are the fastest way to get something to a patient in a hospital bed. Doctors already know their side effects, and companies already know how to manufacture them. Unless researchers get very lucky, though, these repurposed drugs are unlikely to be a cure-all for COVID-19.”
Might The Experimental Drug Remdesivir Work Against COVID-19?
“Warren and his colleagues were among the first scientists to run early tests on remdesivir when it was being studied in Ebola. Still, he says, there are “many different reasons” why a drug could work well in a lab, but not in humans.”
A Promising Treatment for Coronavirus Fails
“There is no solid evidence yet that anything works, but the epidemic is moving so fast that doctors are trying approaches where even preliminary data suggests there may be a benefit. Many feel they are on their own to develop treatment protocols.”
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