The US Is Making Progress In Its Battle Against Covid-19
Several research programs seek treatments and vaccines for coronavirus. The World Health Organization reports 125 vaccine programs. Hundreds of drugs are getting experimented with to treat patients, with 40 now in human testing.
In June, 12 critical events in this race for a cure will take place.
High-Quality Answers on 2 COVID-19 Treatment Theories
Regeneron and Sanofi are testing Kevzara, an arthritis drug, in critically ill COVID-19 patients. The drug dampens overwhelming immune responses in which excess IL-6 can ignite inflammation. Severe COVID-19 cases have been linked to this hyperactivity of the immune system, which Kevzara can help mitigate. Results from a random test group will come out in June to provide clear insight into whether IL-6 theory will help treat the virus.
University of Minnesota researchers will soon publish results of whether hydroxychloroquine, used as antimalarial pills, can protect people from COVID-19. Although studies demonstrate that hydroxychloroquine does not work in severe cases, the drug is proposed to prevent the disease if used early in the virus’ exposure.
4 Vaccine Candidates Start Human Testing
In addition to the ten existing vaccine candidates in the clinic, four more programs will start trials in June. Small-scale studies will focus first and foremost on safety, and also investigate whether the vaccines lead to an immune response. The four new candidates are: CureVac’s messenger RNA vaccine, NantKwest’s and ImmunityBio’s adenovirus-based vaccine, Imperial College London’s mRNA vaccine, and Stabilitech Biopharma’s oral vaccine pill.
The Floodgates Open For Human Data for Coronavirus Vaccines
Other vaccines will begin reporting results from human trials in June. The U.S. National Institutes of Health is poised to publish detailed results in a medical journal about the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of Moderna’s trial vaccine from May. Pfizer, which partnered with BioNTech, will release early human data from its vaccine program to identity the most promising candidate of their four mRNA vaccines to push forward in testing. The University of Oxford vaccine candidate is expected to release initial safety and efficacy data from human testing. Lastly, Inovio Pharmaceuticals expects preliminary results from the INO-4800 vaccine program, which will then advance in July or August if results are positive.
These studies produce limited results, however. They fail to address major concerns, such as whether the vaccines prevent infections in humans, or how long the shot protects the recipient. Simultaneously, the early data contribute to the relevant safety information for each vaccine, and reveal how successfully the candidates trigger immune responses in patients.
Antibody Therapies Enter the Clinic
While vaccine programs face a series of impediments regarding clinical testing, mass manufacturing, distribution, and uncertainty of success, antibody drugs have grown in prevalence.
In June, Regeneron will launch three clinical studies of REGN-COV2. The first study will test the antibody cocktail as a preventative treatment for high-risk individuals. The second will test REGN-COV2 as an early therapy for COVID-19 patients that do not need oxygen support or hospitalization. The last study will investigate the drug’s success for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Eli Lilly had begun testing a potential antibody drug in an early safety trial as of June 1st. Lilly also plans to begin clinical trials for an antibody treatment co-developed with Junshi Biosciences.
Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline are other pharmaceutical companies also researching antibody treatments to address the public health crisis of COVID-19.