- Some of the world's leading drugmakers are conducting trials on candidate drugs like remdesivir and Actemra .
- Business Insider has compiled a list of the most promising coronavirus medical treatments undergoing clinical testing.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .
A novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.2 million people worldwide and killed more than 70,000.
There is no medical treatment that cures patients with COVID-19. However, some of the world's leading drugmakers are testing hundreds of existing drugs and investigating new ones to produce a treatment for those already infected.
Here's our list of some of the most promising medical treatments undergoing clinical trial testing right now.
Remdesivir: The California biotech Gilead is repurposing a drug called remdesivir that was previously tested against Ebola.
The WHO has called the antiviral remdesivir " the most promising candidate " for treatment against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Company executives and health officials have stressed the need to wait for clinical results. Those findings will come quickly though, with Gilead execs expecting the first clinical data from China in April. There are five active clinical trials testing remdesivir in COVID-19 patients in China, the US, and South Korea.
Kaletra: One of the first repurposed drugs tested against COVID-19 was Kaletra, an HIV treatment sold by AbbVie.
The HIV drug Kaletra did not show benefits in keeping patients alive, reducing the amount of virus in patients, or shortening their hospital stays, the researchers concluded in a New England Journal of Medicine article published on March 18 .
Yet, on March 18, the WHO said it will conduct a massive global study on four experimental COVID-19 treatment arms including Kaletra. The other three are remdesivir, the anti-malaria pill chloroquine, and a combination of Kaletra and the immunomodulator interferon-beta.
Actemra and Kevzara: These two arthritis drugs are both being used in COVID-19 patients
Actemra , sold by Roche, and Kevzara , sold by Regeneron and Sanofi, are both in the class of medicines called IL-6 inhibitors.They may work in COVID-19 patients by inhibiting a biological mechanism that could be driving an overactive inflammatory response in patients' lungs.
Both drugs have already started late-stage clinical trials aiming to provide a definitive answer to whether or not they can help COVID-19 patients.
Convalescent plasma: This treatment involves blood plasma of COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the disease that contains virus-fighting antibodies that could help sick patients.
The donor blood plasma, when transferred to a new patient, could fight the virus and boost an immune response since it already has the antibodies against the virus.
Two recent trials one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and another in the journal PNAS have shown promising results on a small group of severely ill patients with COVID-19.
Chloroquine: Touted by Trump, the malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have rapidly become top potential coronavirus treatments.
An old, generic malaria drug, called chloroquine, has rapidly become a leading potential coronavirus treatment, as President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted its potential against the virus and the US government has built up a massive stockpile of the medication. A much more widely prescribed version called hydroxychloroquine is also being tested against the virus.
Neither chloroquine nor hyrdoxychloroquine have any high-quality clinical evidence that shows they are effective against COVID-19.
Avigan: Fujifilm Toyama Chemical's Avigan is an influenza treatment and a broad-spectrum antiviral drug.
Avigan outperformed another antiviral drug called arbidol in a trial conducted in China, according to a recent report of those findings . The flu drug helped COVID-19 patients recover seven days faster than the patients on arbidol and reduced the frequency of symptoms like coughing and fever. The drug is not approved in the US.
A couple ofongoing studies in China are projected to finish in late April or May.
There are over one hundred more drugs in the research phase.
Before a drug can be tested on patients it must go through a series of tests in a laboratory setting. Therefore, these drugs will take longer before they are available to the public. Some of the promising drug candidates under research right now include:
TAK-888: Japan's largest pharmaceutical company is researching the possibility to PRODUCE A hyperimmune globulin called TAK-888 from the blood of COVID-19 patients. Takeda hopes to have the plasma product available for COVID-19 patients in 9-18 months.
Antibody treatment: The Indianapolis drugmaker Eli Lilly is working with AbCellera to start testing an antibody therapy designed to fight COVID-19 in humans by the end of July. AbCellera identified more than 500 human antibodies that could be potent against the virus from a blood sample of a recovered coronavirus patient.
Another antibody treatment: San Francisco-based Vir Biotechnology is involved in several COVID-19 research projects. Since the end of January, Vir has inked research collaborations with Biogen , Alnylam Pharmaceuticals , WuXi Biologics and the NIH . The companies are not yet providing timetables for selecting a leading drug candidate or starting human trials.
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