Hundreds of drugs are in development and under review, with the goal of treating COVID-19, its various symptoms and other conditions impacted by the disease. Antiviral drugs, such as Remdesivir (see below), aim to reduce the replication of the virus in patients. Other drugs seek to treat inflammation that may cause breathing and other conditions caused by the virus. Various additional trials are being developed and conducted to treat other conditions related to COVID-19.
Antivirals reduce the viruses’ ability to replicate. Antivirals are known to decrease the severity and duration of symptoms. One of the first antiviral agents to be studied in COVID-19 patients was Remdesivir. Remdesivir, developed by Gilead Sciences Inc., is an investigational broad-spectrum antiviral treatment. It was previously tested in humans with Ebola virus disease and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which are caused by other coronaviruses.
Few hospital systems are fortunate enough to have access to the drug trial, but Gilead Sciences, the biopharmaceutical company working to develop medicines for COVID-19, selected MultiCare due to MultiCare’s established Institute for Research and Innovation, headquartered in Tacoma, Washington.
“With MultiCare’s access to Remdisivir, research doesn’t just exist in academia but is taking place in the community,” says Dr. Vinay Malhotra, a physician and researcher with MultiCare’s Pulse Heart Institute and the MultiCare Institute for Research and Innovation and the principal investigator on the drug trial. “We are grateful to have this product here. If MultiCare didn’t have the research institute, our communities may not get access to these trials because the drug is in high demand.”
A vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that make it seem as if a person had previously been exposed to the disease or virus. Vaccines are preventative treatments. There are no approved COVID-19 vaccines to date but several trials are underway.