By Taking An Experimental Drug, Patients Are ‘Treating The Emotion’ Rather Than The Disease
“Many drugs we believed were fantastic ended up killing people,” said Dr. Andre Kalil, a principal investigator in the federal government’s clinical trial of drugs that may treat the coronavirus. “It is so hard to keep explaining that.” In recent days, as President Donald Trump touts an unproven treatment for coronavirus, Kalil has been haunted by outbreaks from the past when patients were given untested drugs and then died from them. The New York Times takes a look at the team's efforts to find a scientifically sound treatment. Meanwhile, others scramble for a cure, as well.
The New York Times:
At The Center Of A Storm: The Search For A Proven Coronavirus Treatment
Beginning every morning at 5:30, Dr. Andre Kalil makes himself a double espresso, runs 10 kilometers, makes additional double espressos for himself and his wife, and heads to his office at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A deluge awaits him. Calls and insistent emails pile up each day. Patients and their doctors are clamoring for untested coronavirus treatments, encouraged by President Trump, who said that “we can’t wait” for rigorous studies of the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, and that ill patients should have ready access to experimental medicines. (Kolata, 4/9)
The Coronavirus Sneaks Into Cells Through A Key Receptor. Could Targeting It Lead To A Treatment?
Nearly 20 years ago, when a different coronavirus struck, Michael Farzan and his team figured out how it was getting into human cells: targeting a specific receptor called ACE2 found on certain cells. During this year’s ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, that receptor has attracted fresh attention as a potential target for drug companies because it seems to offer a cellular doorknob for this coronavirus, too. (Sheridan, 4/10)
The Wall Street Journal:
Haywire Immune Response Eyed In Coronavirus Deaths, Treatment
An immune system gone haywire may be doing more damage than the coronavirus itself in patients with the severest forms of Covid-19, doctors and scientists say, a growing theory that could point the way to potential treatments. Much remains unknown about the path the virus takes in the sickest patients, but an increasing number of experts believe a hyperactive immune response, rather than the virus, is what ultimately kills many Covid-19 patients. (Walker and Hopkins, 4/9)
Doctors ‘Keep An Open Mind’ About Unproven Coronavirus Drug, But Worry It Could Do More Harm Than Good
For President Trump, whether Covid-19 patients should take a once-obscure malaria drug is not even a close call: “What do you have to lose?” he said during a briefing this week. “And a lot of people are saying that, and are taking it. ”For physicians on the frontlines, the question of whether to use that drug or other unproven medicines is among the most challenging they’ve faced: They’re trained to make decisions based on rigorous data but have little to go on in treating patients with an entirely new disease. (Bond, 4/10)
How Will The Pandemic Shape Biotech In The Months Ahead?
The biopharma industry is racing to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the industry has also suffered massive disruptions as shelter-in-place orders have brought some projects screeching to a halt. A slew of pharmaceutical and biotech companies have suspended their clinical trials in recent weeks. Brian Skorney, a senior biotech research analyst at investment bank Baird, spoke with STAT about how the pandemic has affected the industry and how those disruptions will shape drug development in the months and years to come. (Feuerstein, Garde and Robbins, 4/10)
How A 100-Year-Old Vaccine For Tuberculosis Could Help Fight The Novel Coronavirus
As researchers scramble to find new drugs and vaccines for Covid-19, a vaccine that is more than a century old has piqued researchers' interests. The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine -- which was first developed to fight off tuberculosis -- is being studied in clinical trials around the world as a way to fight the novel coronavirus. (Yu, 4/10)