Kids have been asking us this question, and here’s what we know:
COVID-19 is a virus, it needs the host system to multiply and live. It mutates or changes itself to avoid being caught and killed.
Can it be treated with antibiotics? No, because antibiotics kill bacteria. This is a virus.
We have heard that maybe it can be treated with a malaria medicine called hydroxychloroquine in combination with an antibiotic Azithromycin? There was a small, 36 patient study conducted in France where this combination was given to a small number of people and these people benefitted from it. These medicines are being tested in larger populations of patients to see if they actually work.
Who do they enrol in clinical trials testing out medicines? Some people without the illness, some with, and in various stages – some without symptoms, some more seriously affected patients.
What? Do healthy people volunteer to be part of clinical trials? Yes they do! Medicines have to be tested in people before they are given to the world at large. Medicine makers need to ensure that the medicines are safe AND effective. In a lot of trials evaluating safety, healthy volunteers will be paid for participating in the trial!
Why don’t we have a vaccine for the coronavirus as yet? The virus RNA sequence was available very soon after China announced the outbreak. Vaccine researchers, companies, groups of public and private institutions are all working around the clock to come up with vaccines that work. However they need to be tested in patients. The earliest we can have a vaccine will be at the beginning of 2021 if everything works out.
What abut new medicines being developed to treat coronavirus? There are currently at least 10 new therapies in development for coronavirus – in clinical trials, and at least 15 more in earlier stages of research.
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Written by: Sunaina Murthy