Current evidence for directed and supportive investigational therapies against COVID-19

Van Rensburg, R. ; Pillay-Fuentes Lorente, V. ; Decloedt, E. H. (2020-04-30)

CITATION: Van Rensburg, R., Pillay-Fuentes Lorente, V. & Decloedt, E. H. 2020. Current evidence for directed and supportive investigational therapies against COVID-19. African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine, 26(2), doi:10.7196/AJTCCM.2020.v26i2.072.

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ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global health crisis. There is currently a great need for effective and safe therapies directed at the disease, but no drugs are presently registered for use in COVID-19. Several directed therapies have been proposed, and most are still in clinical trials. Currently available published, peer-reviewed results mostly involve small sample sizes with study limitations restricting the interpretation of the findings. Many trials currently published also do not have a control group, limiting the interpretation of the effect of the intervention. Investigational directed therapies as well as investigational supportive therapies against COVID-19 are reviewed here. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine show promise as directed therapies, but current trial results are conflicting. Lopinavir/ritonavir also shows potential, but was started late in the disease course in most trials. No randomised controlled evidence is currently available for remdesivir and favipiravir. Corticosteroid use is not recommended for directed therapy against COVID-19, and the role of tocilizumab is currently unclear, based on limited evidence. Early initiation of investigational directed therapies may provide benefit in selected patients. The results from larger randomised controlled trials will clarify the place of these therapies in COVID-19 treatment.

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