With vaccines facing long approval and development timelines, researchers have been concurrently working on viable treatments for the virus.
A team of scientists at the University of Oxford has been quietly testing existing drugs in the sickest patients.
Last week, researchers reported Dexamethasone – a commonly-used, affordable, generic steroid – improved survival in severely ill patients with COVID-19.
The drug reduced deaths by a third compared with standard treatment in patients on ventilators.
While the data hasn’t yet been published or peer reviewed, public health experts hailed the news as a minor victory in the battle against the virus.
Experts say effective drugs that could prevent infection or treat infected people would save lives and enable the safe reopening of society during the vaccine hunt.
According to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), there are currently 256 treatments and 182 antivirals in development against COVID-19 – both repurposed drugs and new compounds. We should expect to see early results from some of these trials later this year.