Coronavirus: Here Are All the Treatments that are Being Developed to Fight It
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Coronavirus: Here Are All the Treatments that are Being Developed to Fight It

The coronavirus epidemic has taken over the world as health and pharmaceutical experts are currently finding a way to cure it

The coronavirus epidemic has taken over the world. Countries across the world have banned their citizens from shaking hands in public and resorting to different means of greetings, whereas others have requested people to take precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the disease. Many have also limited flights going in and out of the country, and also shut schools and other educational institutions to prevent the virus from spreading. While people are taking all measure to stay away from it, technology experts are trying to find a cure in terms of medicine to the epidemic. In the past, these pharmaceutical companies have also tried their hands at finding cures for Ebola, SARS and Zika viruses – that had taken over the world, much-like the recent outbreak of coronavirus. Compiled from Stat News, here are some of the efforts to treat or prevent the virus from spreading.

Gilead Sciences

Approach: Treatment

Stage: Phase 3

Gilead’s remdesivir is an intravenous treatment which has already been used to treat one infected patient in the US. The treatment will soon be made available to studies in Asia. Gilead is also planning to recruit about 1,000 patients diagnosed with the coronavirus to determine whether multiple doses of remdesivir can reverse the infection. The primary goal of the treatment is to reduce fever and help patients get out of the hospital in two weeks.

Moderna Therapeutics

Approach: Vaccine

Stage: Phase 1

Moderna set a drug industry record with mRNA-1273, a vaccine candidate identified just 42 days after the novel coronavirus was sequenced. It is currently working with the National Institutes of Health on a volunteer study which is expected to begin next month. If mRNA-1273 proves itself to be safe, the two organizations will enroll more patients to find out if the vaccine protects against the infection. The vaccine is a synthetic strand of mRNA which is designed to convince bodily cells to produce antibodies against the virus.

CureVac

Approach: Vaccine

Stage: Preclinical

Much-like Moderna, even CureVac uses man-made mRNA. Experts of CureVac expect to have a candidate ready for testing within a few months. The company is also working on a mobile mRNA manufacturing technology that could allow health care workers to quickly produce vaccines.

GlaxoSmithKline

Approach: Vaccine

Stage: Preclinical

GlaxoSmithKline is one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers. To find a treatment for the coronavirus, it is currently lending its technology to a Chinese biotech firm. The organisation is providing compounds that improve the effectiveness of vaccines to Clover Biopharmaceuticals, whose approach involves injecting proteins that shoot an immune response. In doing so, it will prepare the body to resist the infection, however, the company has not revealed when it will begin testing on humans.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals

Approach: Vaccine

Stage: Preclinical

Inovio has spent the last four decades working to turn DNA into medicine, and the company believes its technology could quickly generate a vaccine for coronavirus. It has already come up with a DNA vaccine that it believes can produce defensive antibodies and avoid people from contracting the infection. Inovio has partnered with a Chinese manufacturer and is currently working through preclinical development with a candidate called INO-4800. Later this year, it expects to progress into clinical trials.

Johnson & Johnson

Approach: Vaccine and treatment

Stage: Preclinical

In the past, Johnson & Johnson responded to the outbreaks of Ebola and Zika viruses – which is also why it’s taking a multipronged approach to the coronavirus. As of now, it is in the early stages of developing a vaccine that could introduce patients to a deactivated version of the virus. Doing so will trigger an immune response without causing infection. Simultaneously, Johnson & Johnson is also working with the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to find potential treatments for patients who are already infected. This process includes investigating whether any of its older medicines might work against the coronavirus.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Approach: Treatment

Stage: Preclinical

Regeneron has already once crafted human antibodies out of genetically engineered mice. Now, it hopes to treat the coronavirus using the same sort of technology. The company is immunizing its mice with a harmless equivalent of coronavirus, which could generate potential treatments for the infection. The most potent antibody results will go into animal testing, and if those are successful, human testing can be expected to begin this summer.

Sanofi

Approach: Vaccine

Stage: Preclinical

Sanofi has developed vaccines for yellow fever and diphtheria in the past. Now, it is working with BARDA to find a cure to coronavirus. It will be taking some of the coronavirus’s DNA and mixing it with genetic material from another harmless virus to create something that can prepare the immune system without making people feel sick. The company expects to have a vaccine candidate to test within six months. However, the approval for human testing could still be at least three years away right now. 

Vir Biotechnology

Approach: Treatment

Stage: Preclinical

Vir Biotechnology focuses on infectious diseases. In the past, it has quarantined antibodies from people who survived SARS – which is closely linked to the epidemic of coronavirus. Vir Biotechnology is also currently working to find out if they could be able to treat the virus in a similar way. To do so, they have teamed up with Chinese pharma contractor WuXi Biologics. The two are in the early stages of development but haven’t announced when they expects to have the products ready for human testing.

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By Shaheera Anwar
A multimedia journalist who keeps a keen eye on the latest happenings in the world of entertainment and often writes reviews along with opinion pieces on some of the most-talked-about debates

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