A JAMA Viewpoint article by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and colleagues says Covid-19 treatments for people with early infection are needed urgently.
According to the researchers, treating people early in the course of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, would speed their recovery.
Reducing severe outcomes
It would also reduce the likelihood that they develop severe outcomes and reduce demand on the healthcare system, they wrote.
Though many Covid-19 patients experienced only mild symptoms early in infection, they progress to severe disease that leads to hospitalization.
Some of them also will experience lengthy recoveries and develop long-lasting fatigue, mental impairment and problems with heart and lung function.
Despite several treatments such as remdesivir and dexamethasone are either available or in development for severe Covid-19, interventions that can be administered early during the course of infection to prevent disease progression and longer-term complications are urgently needed.
Researchers are being conducted to assess whether existing antivirals can be repurposed for early treatment. Scientists also are exploring the effectiveness of early treatment with therapies that specifically target SARS-CoV-2, such as convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies.
Scientists also are exploring strategies to deliver therapies by alternative routes than by intravenous infusion, such as by inhalation or intramuscular injection.
Continued research is needed to refine current treatment candidates and develop new drugs, and treatments will need to be administered easily and made available widely at low cost, the authors said.
In the article, they have also highlighted the need to design novel antiviral treatment approaches akin to successful efforts for hepatitis C virus. Such approaches could be helpful against future emergent viruses as well.
(With inputs from The OnLook News Research Bureau)