CategoryTreatment

How a single pill home cure for Covid could be available this year

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At two anonymous Pfizer buildings, one in the US and one in Belgium, a remarkable experiment is under way. Up to 60 volunteers, all clean-living adults aged between 18 and 60, are being given the first pill specifically designed to stop SARS-CoV-2.

If the trial is successful, it is just possible that a home cure for Covid-19 will become available later this year. The Prime Minister, who announced the formation of a UK Antivirals Taskforce last week specifically to invest in such products, will no doubt be scanning his text messages for early updates.

The molecule being tested is a bespoke antiviral codenamed PF 07321332. Classed as a “protease inhibitor”, it has been formulated to attack the “spine” of the SARS-Cov-2 virus and stop it replicating in our noses, throats and lungs. It was protease inhibitors that turned the tide on the spread of HIV in the UK and around the world. Now researchers hope they may be on the brink of a similar pandemic-busting breakthrough.

“If they have moved to this stage, they will be quietly optimistic,” said Prof Penny Ward, visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London and a pioneer in the development of Tamiflu, an antiviral that combats seasonal and pandemic flu. “The question will be about how the drug is tolerated… They will be going like the clappers.”

The anti-viral pill was developed from scratch during the current pandemic, Dafydd Owen, the director of medicinal chemistry at Pfizer, told a private symposium of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry last month.

Pfizer is keeping schtum about the detail of the lab tests it has completed but says it has demonstrated “potent in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2” as well as activity against other coronaviruses, raising the prospect of cure to the common cold as well as future pandemic threats.

“We have designed PF-07321332 as a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalized or in critical care,”said Mikael Dolsten, chief scientific officer and president, worldwide research, development and medical of Pfizer in an official statement released last month.

According to Prof Ward, Pfizer’s scientists will have most likely established the drug’s “potent”” action against SARS-CoV-2 by deploying it against infected human tissue cultures, including lung tissue, in a laboratory. “Once you know it works in vitro, it’s all about establishing its tolerance in animals and then humans,” she said.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/revealed-home-cure-covid-could-available-year/

Britons who test positive for coronavirus could be sent antiviral tablets to take at home

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Britons who test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus could be sent antiviral tablets to take at home – as the prime minister aims to bolster the UK’s defences against another wave of infections this year.

Boris Johnson on Tuesday launched a government taskforce – modelled on the group that secured UK access to COVID vaccines – to identify the most promising new antiviral medicines.

The taskforce will be charged with supporting the development of new antiviral treatments through clinical trials to ensure they can be rolled out to patients as early as the autumn.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, the prime minister said the action was intended as a “further line of medical defence” against coronavirus.

“This means, for example, that if you test positive there might be a tablet you could take at home to stop the virus in its tracks and significantly reduce the chance of infection turning into more severe disease,” he added.

“Or if you’re living with someone who has tested positive, there might be a pill you could take for a few days to stop you getting the disease yourself.”

The government’s aim is to have at least two effective treatments this year – either in a tablet or capsule form – that the public can take at home following a positive COVID test or exposure to someone with the virus.

It is hoped the drugs could help combat any future rise in infections and limit the impact of new COVID variants, especially over the winter flu season.

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-britons-who-test-positive-for-coronavirus-could-be-sent-antiviral-tablets-to-take-at-home-12281366

Asthma drug ‘speeds up recovery at home’

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A cheap drug, commonly used to treat asthma, can help people at home recover more quickly from Covid-19, a UK trial has found.

Two puffs of budesonide twice a day could benefit many over-50s with early symptoms around the world, said the University of Oxford research team.

There are also early signs the drug could reduce hospital admissions.

The NHS says it can now be prescribed by GPs to treat Covid on a case-by-case basis from today.

At present, there are few options for treating people with Covid who are not in hospital, apart from paracetamol.

This widely-available asthma drug works in the lungs, where coronavirus can do serious damage, and could improve the recovery of at-risk patients who are unwell with Covid at home.

Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said he was “delighted” by the trial results so far and he said GPs could prescribe it after “a shared decision conversation” with patients.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56717486

Study bolsters the case that antibody drugs can protect against Covid-19

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A monoclonal antibody cocktail developed by the drug maker Regeneron offered strong protection against Covid-19 when given to people living with someone infected with the coronavirus, according to clinical trial results announced on Monday. The drug, if authorized, could offer another line of defense against the disease for people who are not protected by vaccination.

The findings are the latest evidence that such lab-made drugs not only prevent the worst outcomes of the disease when given early enough, but also help prevent people from getting sick in the first place.

Using the cumbersome drugs preventively on a large scale won’t be necessary: Vaccines are sufficient for the vast majority of people and are increasingly available.

Still, antibody drugs like Regeneron’s could give doctors a new way to protect high-risk people who haven’t been inoculated or who may not respond well to vaccination, such as those taking drugs that weaken their immune system. That could be an important tool as rising coronavirus cases and dangerous virus variants threaten to outpace vaccinations.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/04/12/world/covid-vaccine-coronavirus-cases#regeneron-antibody-drug-covid-19

Eli Lilly’s combo therapy for COVID-19 cuts serious illness and death in large study

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Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday that its combination antibody therapy to fight COVID-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 87% in a study of more than 750 high-risk COVID-19 patients.

It is the second large, late-stage study to show that combination therapy of two antibodies, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, is effective at treating mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

The previous study, which published data in January, used a higher dose of the drugs and reduced risk of hospitalization by 70%.

“I expect this data to continue to drive more utilization” of the antibodies,” said Daniel Skovronsky, chief scientific officer at Eli Lilly.

“We have few other diseases where we have drugs that can offer this magnitude of benefit.”

U.S. regulators authorized the combination therapy in February for use in COVID-19 patients 12 and over with a high risk of developing serious complications. European regulators greenlighted its use in March.

The United States agreed in February to purchase a minimum of 100,000 doses of the combination treatment.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-lilly/eli-lillys-combo-therapy-for-covid-19-cuts-serious-illness-and-death-in-large-study-idUSKBN2B21C0

“Covid vaccines cut risk of serious illness by 80%”

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A single shot of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid jab reduces the chance of needing hospital treatment by more than 80%, an analysis in England shows.

The Public Health England data – based on people over 80 – follows similarly ‘spectacular’ results in Scotland.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the findings were “very strong”.

More than 20 million people have received their first dose of Covid vaccine in the UK.

That’s more than a third of the adult population.

Mr Hancock said the vaccine results “may also help to explain why the number of Covid admissions to intensive care units among people over 80 in the UK have dropped to single figures in the last couple of weeks”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56240220

UK administers 15 million vaccine doses

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The UK has administered more than 15 million vaccinations, official data has revealed.

According to the latest Government data up to February 12, a total of 15,091,696 Covid-19 vaccines have been given in the UK so far.

Of the 15 million total, 14,556,827 were first doses and some 534,869 were second doses – an increase of 4,775 on figures released the previous day.

It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he hoped a combination of vaccines and new treatments will mean Covid-19 could be a “treatable disease” by the end of the year.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-administers-15-vaccine-doses-b919702.html

Common asthma drug cuts COVID-19 hospitalization risk, recovery time – Oxford study

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A commonly used asthma treatment appears to reduce the need for hospitalizations as well as recovery time for COVID-19 patients if given within seven days of symptoms appearing, researchers at the University of Oxford said on Tuesday.

The findings were made following a mid-stage study of the steroid budesonide, sold as Pulmicort by AstraZeneca Plc and also used for treating smoker’s lung.

The 28-day study of 146 patients suggested that inhaled budesonide reduced the risk of urgent care or hospitalization by 90% when compared with usual care, Oxford University said.

Researchers said the trial was inspired by the fact that patients with chronic respiratory disease, who are often prescribed inhaled steroids, were significantly under-represented among hospitalized COVID-19 patients during early days of the pandemic.

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-asthma-treatment-idUKKBN2A92L0?taid=6022e8a206541100010bc08b

New Israeli drug cured 29 of 30 moderate/serious COVID cases in days — hospital

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A new coronavirus treatment being developed at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center has successfully completed phase 1 trials and appears to have helped numerous moderate-to-serious cases of COVID-19 quickly recover from the disease, the hospital said Friday.

Hailing a “huge breakthrough,” the hospital said Prof. Nadir Arber’s EXO-CD24 substance had been administered to 30 patients whose conditions were moderate or worse, and all 30 recovered — 29 of them within three to five days.

The medicine fights the cytokine storm — a potentially lethal immune overreaction to the coronavirus infection that is believed to be responsible for much of the deaths associated with the disease.

The medicine will now move on to further trial phases, but hospital officials were already hailing it as a possible game-changer in fighting serious COVID-19 illness.

Ichilov director Roni Gamzu, the former coronavirus czar, said the research “is advanced and sophisticated and may save coronavirus patients. The results of the phase 1 trial are excellent and give us all confidence in the method [Arber] has been researching in his lab for many years.”

https://www.timesofisrael.com/new-israeli-drug-cured-moderate-to-serious-covid-cases-within-days-hospital

Breakthrough treatment claims to stop 100% of symptomatic infections

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Makers say early tests of the experimental drug indicate it may “break the chain” of rising coronavirus infections.

The makers of an experimental drug, now being trialled by the NHS, say it is 100 per cent effective in protecting against symptomatic cases of the virus.

US-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals says its two-antibody cocktail called REGEN-COV also reduces overall coronavirus infection rates by about 50 per cent.

The claims are based on interim results and the “confirmatory stage” of the trial will not be complete until the second quarter of this year, but the company has said it is hopeful it may “break the chain” of rising infections.

“The REGEN-COV antibody cocktail may be able to help break this chain by providing immediate passive immunity to those at high risk of infection, in contrast to active vaccines which take weeks to provide protection,” he added.

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-breakthrough-treatment-claims-to-stop-100-of-symptomatic-infections-12200072