Drugs and Other Treatments For COVID-19
Most people with Covid-19 are able to fight off the virus with their immune response. However, those with weaker immune systems may need to use drugs to combat the virus. These drugs work by increasing the levels of a chemical in the bloodstream called interferons. This chemical is naturally produced by our cells when we are exposed to viruses. It has profound effects on the immune system, and synthetic versions are used to treat many immune disorders. One example of this is the drug Rebif, which is prescribed for multiple sclerosis patients.
Favilavir, an antiviral drug, has received approval in several countries but is not yet available in all. The drug was originally developed to fight influenza and has also been used to treat inflammation of the throat and nose. While the drug is not approved for use in the USA, the Chinese government has approved its use for Covid-19.
The efficacy of colchicine for COVID-19 patients was evaluated in a clinical trial. The COLCORONA trial included 4,488 patients with COVID-19 and their risk factors. The trial compared the effects of colchicine to a placebo in reducing hospitalizations and mortality. The results approached statistical significance.
The use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 infections is now being explored in hospitals across the country. The drug has not been approved for all patients and is not recommended for self-medication. But doctors are increasingly turning to it for the sickest patients in hospitals.
Vitamin D treatment may provide some protection against COVID-19. It increases the immune system’s natural defenses against the virus and prevents an over-inflammatory response. But the specific antiviral effect of vitamin D isn’t well defined. The Harvard Medical School warns that vitamin D supplements aren’t a surefire solution to this ailment. It also warns that high doses can cause cramps and nausea, and may also increase the risk of kidney stones. Furthermore, there’s only one small clinical trial on the effect of vitamin D supplements on COVID-19, and that it doesn’t provide any clear evidence of benefits.