As research into Covid-19 treatments accelerates, the coming months could bring good news. Approximately 3,000 molecules are currently tested worldwide. Some could be available in mid-November.
The president of the French Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy, showed optimism in a recent interview with French TV channel France 2. According to him, some anti-covid treatments could reach the market before the end of this year. But what would they be?
The most promising among treatments are those that belong to the antibody family. The principle is to directly inject into the patient defense molecules that the organism could not or did not have time to produce on its own. Laboratories AstraZeneca – which already has a vaccine against the coronavirus -, Xenothera and Roche are researching this type of remedy.
In March, France authorized one of these antibody-based treatments. This is REGN-COV2, a combination of treatments from Roche and Lilly France laboratories. The drug is used in immunocompromised and hospitalized people. It is expensive and injectable.
However, treatments in tablet form may soon be available. Hope lies above all in antiviral products, molecules that prevent the virus from multiplying.
For now, the results are uncertain, but the Merck lab expects to present results of phase 3 testing of its drug in October. Pfizer, in turn, aims to present its antiviral at the end of this year.
Treatments reserved for the most fragile
The labs are also researching treatments against Covid-19 among those already used for other diseases, such as some steroids, which have been shown to lower the risk of severe forms. They are recommended by WHO and used frequently in hospitals.
The use of antidepressants or antibiotics is another clue studied by researchers. Clinical trials with clofoctol, an antibiotic, are being carried out at the Pasteur Institute in Lille in eastern France.
These treatments do not directly attack the virus and were not designed to do so, but they could limit the severe forms of Covid-19. However, they are not as effective as the vaccine, which reduces the risk of hospitalization by up to 95%.
Immunization should be the preferred option because the first treatments against the virus are not aimed at the general public, but at frail people for whom vaccination is not effective.