Are there any medications to treat coronavirus?

(Also: How infectious and lethal is this Coronavirus COVID-19 compared to regular “flu”?)

February 27, 2020- by Steven E. Greer, MD

Gilead makes a not-yet-approved antiviral drug called remdisivir and it is being tested right now in Nebraska on coronavirus patients. The results are promising.

What other drugs that are available now might help with a coronavirus infection?

First, what type of virus is it? Coronavirus are single-strand RNA viruses. Influenza is as well.

Galidesivir is an experimental drug that works on Coronavirus, Zika virus, and Ebola. It is still in testing too.

Tamiflu (oseltamivir) works well against the flu (a single-strand RNA virus like coronavirus) if taken early. It is FDA approved. It prevents new virus inside human cells from escaping, thus squelching the spread. In contrast, the experimental remdisivir works by interfering with the reproduction of RNA by RNA polymerase. Although the two drugs work in different ways, they both work on RNA viruses. Would Tamiflu help with coronavirus? It is not out of the question.

Approved AIDS drugs that treat HIV might work on coronavirus too. Kaletra, a combination of the HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir, is in trials for coronavirus in Japan.

There are many other drugs that are promising too. This short memo is far from comprehensive.

Then, of course, a vaccine can likely be made. However, that will take some time.

In the meantime, use precautions while mingling with people on trains, airplanes, or at work. Wear a facemask (to prevent you from touching your own mouth more so than prevention of inhaling virus), stay away from events that you do not need to attend, and so on.

The bottom line is that I think the U.S. (under a competent president like Trump who is willing to quarantine, unlike Obama with Ebola) can develop drugs to treat a bad epidemic of coronavirus, Ebola, Zika, flu, etc. It might require some sort of government takeover of the drug companies if they show reluctance or place profits over lives.

Coronavirus will likely not be a deadly pandemic worse than normal flu, in my estimation. I have been covering viral epidemics for 20-years as a Wall Street healthcare analyst. The death rate is not like Zika or Ebola. It seems to be more like a bad flu. Then, as mentioned, many drugs can treat the infection.

This entry was posted in - Biotech, - Opinion, - Pharma, - Policy, CDC, Congress, FDA, Geriatrics, Infectious disease, Internal Medicine, NIH, Primary care medicine. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Are there any medications to treat coronavirus?

  1. William Schaffner, MD says:

    There are no specific antivirals effective against Coronavirus at present. Research is underway.

    William Schaffner, M.D.
    Professor, Preventive Medicine Health Policy
    Professor Division of Infectious Diseases
    Vanderbilt University

  2. Pablo C. Narido says:

    Hello Guys:
    I think all frontlines doing the actual field fighting, treatment, and people who are 100% to likely acquire said COVID-19 in the performance of their duties such as, medical practitioners, militia group, media group, and others that are exposed daily in the battle against this invisible, invincible virus, should be given an advance self-defenses by treatment…..
    Just a suggestion,,,,, there are drugs in the market like…. TAMIFLU (Oseltamivir), etc maybe this will help them…. taking this orally as prescribed by physicians.
    I see it that lapses, loopholes, slippage may as well occur during their fight as fronliners….
    With the full swing of our medical personnel in the fight of this virus, fatigue, pressure, and lack of sleep may cause slippage in their first line of defense… mask, eye goggles, PPE’s they wore.
    Thus, I suggest they are further protected with a second line of defense…
    First line of Defense: Appropriate PPE’s, second line of defense maybe advance taking of pills that will act as barrier to develop flu symptoms leading to covid-19, and maybe if there is still a third line of defense much better.

    Thank you very much,
    Pabs

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