Drugs that can help keep COVID-19 patients out of the hospital are playing only a small role in Michigan, where the pandemic is accelerating. Logistical challenges are to blame.
Researchers are reporting some progress in their search for drugs that tamp down the overwhelming immune reaction that can kill a patient with COVID-19.
Drugs for COVID-19 are sorted into three basic categories: They work, they don't work, or there simply isn't enough information to know. A generic steroid is one medicine that proved helpful.
Antibody-based drugs that bind to the coronavirus to prevent it from invading cells can help patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. But the medicines can be tough to find in time.
While logistical challenges have hampered use of antibody drugs to treat people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, recent results show the medicines can be worthwhile.
Monoclonal antibodies to prevent severe COVID-19 aren't being used as widely as expected. Medical staff shortages and patient transportation problems are two of the reasons.
To boost the supply of Regeneron's antibody therapy for COVID-19, the federal government entered into a $450 million supply contract. Details of the deal show some safeguards are missing.
The federal government plans to distribute 300,000 doses of the drug at no cost, but that doesn't mean treatment will be free. Intravenous infusion charges can run more than $1,000.
Experimental medicines have the potential to help people with COVID-19 avoid hospitalization. The scarce supply of the treatments would have to be rationed, if regulators OK their use.
Medical researchers have high hopes that the kind of treatment the president received could end up being an important element in the fight against the pandemic. But clinical trials continue.
Drugs are being tested that could reduce symptoms and save lives. But, given the way drugs are developed, it's unlikely that any single medicine will be anywhere as potent as a successful vaccine.