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Understanding COVID-19: Episodes 6 & 7 – Treatment & Vaccine

By Bob Arnot, M.D., sponsored by DeVry University

March 31, 2020
3 min read

Dr. Arnot discusses current treatments being tested, a pharmaceutical company working on a potential drug and other companies with vaccines in development.

Episode 6: Treatment

Video Transcription

St. Thomas' Hospital in London has been using Plaquenil for treatment of its hospitalized patients combined with three broad spectrum antibiotics and antivirals. Plaquenil is an old anti-malarial drug, which is also used for rheumatoid arthritis. There's a risk of long QT intervals, which could lead to sudden death in some. The QT is a measurement on an EKG, and when it reaches a prolonged length, it may lead to a fatal heart rhythm. There are no known clinical trials which prove Plaquenil works conclusively, but it is approved for malaria prophylaxis and arthritis. This is the treatment that the US President finds most promising.

Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral drug and has worked against recent emerging diseases for Ebola, Marburg and SARS. Regeneron hopes to have a treatment by August. Doctors are taking blood from patients who have recovered from corona and injected specific immune components into patients who have the disease as a treatment.

6% of Chinese patients required technical ventilation for a syndrome called acute respiratory distress. After four to six days of illness, some patients start to become increasingly short of breath. Patients require ventilators within 8 to 12 hours of this shortness of breath to prevent death. At St. Thomas' in London, most of the ventilator patients are young, between 22 and 52. Up to 30% of hospitalized patients may require ventilators. When patients begin to become short of breath, they need ventilation very quickly to survive. In the early stages of the outbreak in London, the ages of patients on ventilators were 44, 22, 32, 28, 37, 34, and 52.

There are over 60 clinical trials looking for potential treatments. Most of these are in China.

Episode 7: Vaccines

Video Transcription

Many scientists believe their vaccine is the best long-term solution to the epidemic. These need to undergo three phases of clinical trials before they are safe. The first vaccine trial has begun. This is a phase one trial to demonstrate safety. The estimate is it will be 18 months before a vaccine is available to the market.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the author.  The content is intended to provide general information on the nature of the pandemic, potential exposures, and is not intended to provide medical advice or address medical concerns or specific risk circumstances.  Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding a medical condition.  Neither DeVry University nor its employees or business partners, nor any contributor to this content, makes any representations, express or implied, with respect to the information provided herein or to its use.

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