Find out what are the remedies that promise to revolutionize the fight against Covid

In approximately two years since the first Covid-19 case was recorded, science has taken a huge leap in the development of vaccines and drugs with the potential to contain the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes the Covid-19 pandemic.

After the launch of vaccines, responsible for the drop in the number of cases and deaths caused by the disease in countries where the vaccination campaign advances, attention is turned to antiviral treatments developed in the form of oral pills and injections of monoclonal antibodies, which simulate the produced by the human body.

The new medications are intended for immediate treatment after the first symptoms, preventing high-risk patients – such as the elderly, those who are immunosuppressed or who have other diseases capable of complicating the condition – from progressing to serious conditions of infection.

As they have shown good results in the research carried out so far, the scientific community has great hope for the development of these remedies.

See what are the most common symptoms of Covid-19:

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Discover the main remedies that promise to stop Covid-19 early on:

antiviral pills

Currently, there are two drugs for oral and household use under evaluation by regulatory agencies: Paxlovid, by Pfizer, and Molnupiravir, developed by the Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) group. Both are indicated to treat patients with mild to moderate conditions in the first five days of symptoms. They act by inhibiting viral replication in the body and the evolution to severe cases, they belong to the post-exposure prophylaxis (PPE) class.

Paxlovid from Pfizer

Paxlovid has been shown to be 89% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths in adults at high risk of complications from Covid-19 when combined with the antiviral ritonavir, which is used against HIV infection.

Clinical studies by Pfizer have shown better results when treatment is started by the third day of symptoms, with the use of medication every 12 hours for five days. Ongoing research is evaluating whether Paxlovid can prevent transmission between people living in the same household.

The Food And Drug Administration (FDA), the regulatory agency of the United States, analyzes the request for emergency use of the drug made by Pfizer in the country.

Molnupiravir, from MSD

The antiviral Molnupiravir is indicated both for treatment after the onset of symptoms – preferably until the fifth day – as a prevention strategy for people who have been with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 72 hours and are showing at least one symptom of the illness.

The phase 3 clinical trial showed an approximately 50% reduction in the risk of hospitalizations and deaths among patients who tested positive and were predisposed to developing severe Covid conditions. The evaluated use was one pill every 12 hours for five days.

The drug obtained, on Friday (11/19), the first approval for emergency use, granted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA, its acronym in English). The FDA evaluates the application for its use in the US, and Anvisa analyzes the same type of application for Brazil.

The infectologist Joana D’arc Gonçalves, master in tropical medicine from the University of Brasília (UnB), highlights that having an oral antiviral to fight Covid-19 is something exciting, but it does not replace vaccination. “The combination of more effective drugs and immunization agents is the ideal scenario, but we emphasize that the priority strategy is vaccination”, says the doctor.

monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are biological products, produced in laboratories. Applying these manufactured antibodies helps the body fight infections. Unlike oral pills, they do not prevent illness and are restricted to hospital use.

They are given as a subcutaneous injection or as an intravenous infusion, and they work by attacking the Spike protein of the new coronavirus, making it more difficult for the virus to invade human cells to replicate.

The infectologist Ana Helena Germoglio explains that this modality of treatment can be used to care for patients with mild to moderate symptoms, with a recent diagnosis for Covid-19, and who are at high risk of developing a serious condition of the disease. The treatment is aimed at preventing deaths in patients with a positive result who have associated risk factors, such as old age, obesity, chronic lung diseases, problems with the immune system, among others.

Three monoclonal antibodies under development stand out: AstraZeneca’s AZD7442; Regkirona (Regdanvimabe), developed by Celltrion Healthcarepor; and REGEN-COV, from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

AZD7442, from AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca’s experimental injection, with the AZD7442 antibody cocktail, provides 83% protection against Covid-19 for six months, preventing serious cases and deaths after infection with the new coronavirus, according to the company’s clinical studies. The drug is indicated for a single dose up to three days after the first symptoms of the disease.

The cocktail is recommended for people at high risk of progression to severe forms, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, with diseases that damage the immune system and transplant recipients, in addition to those who do not respond well to vaccines.

Regkirona (Regdanvimabe), from Celltrion Healthcare by

The drug from South Korean pharmaceutical company Celltrion Healthcarepor is indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate Covid-19 in adult patients who are not supported by oxygen. A single dose should be given within seven days of the onset of symptoms.

The formula is effective against the Beta, Gamma and Delta variants of the new coronavirus and, since August this year, it has been authorized by Anvisa for emergency use in Brazil.

Regen-Cov, from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Indicated for cases of mild to moderate Covid, Regen-Cov obtained authorization for emergency use in Brazil, by Anvisa, in April of this year. The cocktail combines two monoclonal antibodies – casirivimab and imdevimab – and reduces the risk of hospitalization or death from the disease by up to 70%, according to a phase 3 study with approximately 4,500 volunteers.

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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