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Coronavirus: Where are we with treatment and cure for this?

List of drugs that are being studied to treat the coronavirus according to the researchers.

Coronavirus: Where are we with treatment and cure for this?
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In the wake of the COVID-19, scientists around the world are busy experimenting to find a vaccine for the coronavirus. In the recent past, a leprosy drug has shown immense potential.

In Mumbai, Maharashtra, hospitals have started administering Tocilizumab to patients suffering from the coronavirus. This happens to be an expensive drug as it costs anywhere between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 80,000. The hospitals are faced with a high mortality rate. As a result, the health workers have started prescribing Tocilizumab to the patients. The administration of the drug depends on a person’s weight, round the clock oxygen support and CT scans for the critically ill. The medicine, ideally given to patients suffering from arthritis have been given to over 80 patients in KEM, Sion, Nair and Kasturba hospital.

Indian Pharmaceuticals have tested a leprosy drug on COVID-19 patients in Chandigarh. This drug contains an immunomodulatory element which according to the Indian Council of Medical Research can help treat the mortality rate in COVID-19 patients. If found successful, widespread trials will be held to treat the coronavirus. Tech Mahindra has been known to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to research on potential therapeutic drugs for COVID-19. 

CP Gurnani, MD and CEO of Tech Mahindra in a statement said by leveraging cutting edge and futuristic technology, a potential treatment for COVID-19 can be formulated. Nikhil Malhota, Global Head of makers lab, on the other hand, stated, that "the use of AI further helped the team to evaluate multiple scenarios with different parameters while finding how molecules dock with the main protease."

Earlier, homegrown pharma major Cipla Ltd had announced that it has signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc. for manufacturing and distribution of investigational drug Remdesivir, a potential therapy for COVID-19. Under the agreement, Cipla will be permitted to manufacture the API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) and finished product, and market it in 127 countries, including India and South Africa under Cipla's own brand name. The medicine has been issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19 patients. Similarly, many other drugs have been in news as of late which can prove to be useful in treating the coronavirus. Some of them are listed below.

  • HCQ – HCQ or Hydrochloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, used to treat arthritis and auto-immune conditions have shown immense promise in treating some of the symptoms of the coronavirus. Donald Trump, the President of the United States had earlier announced on 19 March that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine/Plaquenil, used to treat malaria and arthritis, were approved by the FDA to be tested as a treatment for COVID-19.

  • Plasma Therapy - Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) involves the process of transfusing healthy antibodies from a recovered COVID patient to a sick person. This strengthens their immunity in the fight against coronavirus. This has been proven to be useful in certain cases. However, more research needs to be conducted to figure out its efficiency in fighting the coronavirus.

  • HIV – A combination of antiviral medicines used in the treatment of severe flu and infections have shown the highest potential of all the drugs tested for the treatment of the coronavirus. HIV medicines work as a combination therapy and have been used in the past to treat ailments like cancer. The drugs which are being used to treat the COVID-19 are lopinavir, ritonavir which strip the virus's ability to attack or reproduce the body's immune system, hence, curbing the problem of further infection as well. This was first used in Thailand in the month of February.

  • Favilavir - Trials propagating the use of Favipiravir have been going on in Japan and another trial is set to begin in India. Researchers say that Favipiravir works by preventing the virus from replicating inside the organs and was also used in fighting the deadly Influenza virus in the past.

  • Remesdivir - Remdesivir is one of the drugs in the lead fight against Coronavirus. After long extensive trials, the makers have now got the go-ahead from the FDA for the usage of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19. It is an antiviral drug which works by copying the coronavirus's genetic make-up, the RNA and slows down replication. Lab trials by scientists have shown that the drug has also been successful in fighting against Ebola in the past.

  • Tocilizumab – A drug largely used by patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have been used for the treatment of coronavirus in many places around the globe. In Mumbai, the drug has been used on approximately 40 COVID-19 patients, all of the critical cases. Encouraging results have been seen in more than 30 patients, with 14 patients having already been recovered and discharged from the hospital, according to the BMC.

READ ALSO: Mumbai based drug major Cipla plans multi-attack on the novel coronavirus 

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