Researchers are trying a wide range of existing drugs against the novel coronavirus, hoping to find a treatment that fights the virus or alleviates patients' symptoms. These repurposed drugs are the only near-term hope for a coronavirus treatment. Dozens of trials are now testing them in patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.Drugmakers are also crafting new therapeutics and vaccines tailored for this coronavirus. While these efforts hold great promise in halting the virus, they all require at least several months of development and testing. Business Insider reviewed the research landscape and identified 15 leading treatments that are now being tested against COVID-19.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Repurposed drugs are the most promising options for finding a treatment quickly for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Dozens of clinical trials are enrolling patients and testing drugs originally designed for other ailments, such as Ebola, HIV, malaria, and arthritis. Results will trickle in over the coming weeks and months.
These potential treatments have already been tested in humans for other diseases, and some are already approved to treat other conditions. That means we already know how safe they are for people to take, and what side effects to expect. Therefore, researchers can skip some of the early steps of drug development, and instead move them quickly into human trials testing their efficacy in COVID-19.
While repurposed drugs can be tested now, they aren't expected to be anything close to a panacea for the virus. The gold standard for halting infectious diseases remains vaccines, which can protect healthy people from getting infected in the first place.
Vaccine research typically takes years. Even under the urgency of this pandemic, US health officials have said it will take at least a year to know if any vaccine is safe and effective.
Other biotech and pharma companies are scrambling to craft new therapeutics. These will be tailored specifically to fighting this novel coronavirus. Even under the most aggressive timetables for clinical testing, those won't be widely available to patients until at least the fall.
That leaves repurposed drugs as the near-term hope. Here are the top candidates and how they are being tested against COVID-19. These treatments have already been tested in people and are now in late-stage trials to find out whether they work against the coronavirus.