You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Infectious diseases specialist reviews 3 new Covid treatments WHO is testing

CapeTalk logo CapeTalk 2021/08/13
a blue ball © Provided by CapeTalk
  • WHO is rolling out testing on its Solidarity platform encompassing over 40 countries for three existing treatments on severe Covid-19
  • Covid-19 cases that require hospitalisation see an overactive immune system which causes severe inflammation and can lead to death
  • Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr Jeremy Nel says steroids still remain the best treatment for modulating the immune system to reduce inflammation
a blue and white surface: Image: © uspmen /123rf.com © Provided by CapeTalk Image: © uspmen /123rf.com

The WHO will begin testing three drugs currently used to treat other diseases to see if they can be used as treatments for COVID.

The drugs under trial include Artesunate, used in treatment for severe malaria; Imatinib, a cancer drug & Infliximab, a treatment for immune system disorders such as Crohn’s disease.

They have all been used for other things which is an advantage as there is already a production line and they are fairly known quantities in terms of side effects.

Dr Jeremy Nel, Infectious Diseases Specialist - Wits University

Most of these work by decreasing the amount of inflammation which works for severe disease.

Dr Jeremy Nel, Infectious Diseases Specialist - Wits University

These could help for severe Covid-19 disease he explains, once patients have had to be hospitalised.

The dominant problem then is an overactive immune system and so changing it with steroids and other drugs may be able to reduce the amount of death and suffering.

Dr Jeremy Nel, Infectious Diseases Specialist - Wits University

He says the WHO selects drugs to test which have very plausible mechanisms.

They know in lab studies that these seem to work against Covid already and in most cases, they have been tried in small numbers of people with promising results but it is not established to work in the real world yet hence these trials.

Dr Jeremy Nel, Infectious Diseases Specialist - Wits University

Nel says optimistically the trials on the WHO Solidarity platform encompasses over 40 countries and should take six months to a year.

In general, the drugs used successfully for severe Covid in hospitalised cases target the immune system he notes.

Steroids are still the most successful of all and reduce mortality by a big chunk by modulating the immune response to reduce inflammation.

Dr Jeremy Nel, Infectious Diseases Specialist - Wits University

And the Ivermectin question?

Ivermectin, as new trials come in, it still does not look like it is doing anything at all I am afraid which is a pity but it is what we said based on some of the early trials.

Dr Jeremy Nel, Infectious Diseases Specialist - Wits University

More from CapeTalk

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon