US has less than 10 drugs to treat COVID-19

The U.S. has less than 10 drugs cleared or recommended for use against COVID-19 nearly 18 months into the pandemic, as researchers struggle to find drugs that are both effective and easy to use, The Wall Street Journal reported July 26. 

Ten drugs have been cleared or recommended for use, but two later had their authorizations rescinded because they were found to be ineffective. The government also recently stopped shipping a third drug — Eli Lilly's antibody drug — because it isn't effective against new virus variants. 

The most effective drugs authorized for use in patients early in the disease are hard to administer, requiring intravenous infusion, and drugs for those hospitalized aren't as effective for patients who are already severely ill, the Journal reported. 

"We're really limited, to be honest. We do not have any dramatic treatments," Daniel Griffin, MD, chief of infectious disease at ProHealth New York, a provider network, told the Journal

U.S. officials have concentrated resources on developing vaccines as quickly as possible. But there's been a relative scarcity of research on drugs to treat COVID-19. 

Uncoordinated clinical trials have also played a role in the slow development of COVID-19 drugs, the Journal reported. Between January 2020 and June 2021, researchers launched thousands of studies worldwide. Many trials competed with each other for study subjects and slowed down the research, Janet Woodcock, MD, acting FDA commissioner, said, according to the Journal

Of the 2,895 clinical trial arms launched worldwide from January to November 2020, only 5 percent were vigorous enough to yield data to alter treatment practices, according to an analysis co-written by Dr. Woodcock and cited by the Journal

"People would publish theories or very small trials, and they would be misleading," Dr. Woodcock wrote. "We failed to generate evidence we could have generated if we had a more organized approach."

Physicians told the Journal that the best COVID-19 drug would be an antiviral that could be taken as a pill early in the disease. The Biden administration recently pledged $3.2 billion to support research on antiviral pills. 

Read the full article here


Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars