Though there is still a lack of clinical trials and greater evidence surrounding certain therapies for COVID-19, there is a lot of mixed information out there. We have put together a quick FAQ to some of the more pressing pharmaceutical questions in the national conversation in hopes of being as transparent and helpful as possible.
There are no proven clinical trials indicating that hydroxychloroquine is a legitimate treatment for COVID-19, despite pronunciations from both President Trump and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro that the drug is a cure for COVID-19.
Despite the lack of general clinical trials, both Italy and France have announced that the medicine is approved for use for COVID-19 patients, according to The Guardian. This has led to a shortage of the drug for patients who need it to manage diseases such as lupus, a disorder of the immune system.
In a very small and rapid trial whose methodology has been widely called into question, Dr Didier Raoult combined the drug with an antibiotic in 26 people and then declared chloroquine a cure for COVID-19 in a video on YouTube.
Kaletra is an anti-HIV medicine which is supposed to be in global trials for COVID-19. It is a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir. It is one of four therapies under testing by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO is focusing on what it calls the four most promising therapies: an experimental antiviral compound called remdesivir; the malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine; a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir; and that same combination plus interferon-beta, an immune system messenger that can help cripple viruses.
On March 14, France’s health minister tweeted that it could be dangerous to take ibuprofen for COVID-19 sufferers. However, both the WHO and the FDA have debunked this claim, stating there is no evidence to prove the validity of such concerns.
In a statement, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, the makers of Advil, said, “As a science-led company, we turn to reputable public health authorities and medical experts, like the FDA and WHO, to provide factual information and guidance. GSK is not aware of any scientific evidence that directly links worse outcomes in patients suffering from COVID-19 infection with the use of ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories.”
As is the case with any novel illness, it takes time for the scientific establishment to devise treatments and come up with therapies, let alone cures. We hope this brief overview shares some solid information that is useful in case anyone in your life is affected by COVID-19.