COVID drugs come in 3 flavors; it’s time for more diversity

A scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow). Credit: NIAID-RML

Our industry’s response to COVID-19 defied the conventional wisdom that it takes years to deliver new drugs.

Makers of monoclonal antibodies led the pack, most notably Regeneron (NSDQ:REGN), which manufactured the 8-g, two-antibody cocktail administered to then-President Donald Trump last fall. Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Vir Biotechnology (NSDQ:VIR) pulled off similar feats. Prior speed records were measured in years, not months.

Vaccine developers moved even larger mountains. The colossal trials required to assess efficacy and safety — 30,000 to 60,000 volunteers each — were planned, executed and submitted to the FDA in under a year. Most thought it couldn’t be done in under a decade.

And small-molecule drug makers made important contributions too. Despite all the controversy surrounding the red herrings hydroxychl…

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Meta-analysis finds some ivermectin benefits in COVID-19 patient

Ivermectin image from Wikipedia

An analysis published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases found a 56% reduced risk of mortality for COVID-19 patients taking the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin compared to standard of care or another therapy. The study pulled data from 24 randomized trials involving 3,328 patients with moderate to severe COVID-19.

The study also found that ivermectin was “associated with reduced inflammatory markers” and quicker viral clearance.

Ivermectin, a widely available inexpensive drug used to treat worm and scabies infections in humans and animals, has emerged as a COVID-19 treatment in several parts of the world. Its use, however, has been controversial. WHO has counseled against its use as a COVID-19 treatment outside of clinical trials. And Merck, an ivermectin manufacturer, released a statement in February saying there was no scientific evidence to support the use of ivermecti…

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Ivermectin not supported for mild COVID-19, study says

Ivermectin image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The antiparasitic drug ivermectin does not appear to be an efficacious COVID-19 treatment for mild COVID-19 cases, based on a randomized study recently published in JAMA.

Ivermectin — which is widely used in veterinary medicine to get rid of worms and other parasites— emerged as a potential COVID-19 treatment, owing to its ability to inhibit replication of the SARS-CoV-2 drugin in vitro and animal studies. 

Similar research elevated hydroxychloroquine as a potential COVID-19 therapeutic agent, but the drug also has disappointed in human studies. The World Health Organization now cautions against its use as a COVID-19 treatment. 

The ivermectin recipients in the Colombian study had a slightly faster resolution of symptoms than the placebo arm. The median time to resolution was 10 days in the ivermectin group versus 12 for placebo recipients. The number of …

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