A roadmap for effective treatment of COVID-19

May 29, 2020

Due to the devastating worldwide impact of COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there has been unprecedented efforts by clinicians and researchers from around the world to quickly develop safe and effective treatments and vaccines. Given that COVID-19 is a complex new disease with no existing vaccine or specific treatment, much effort is being made to investigate the repurposing of approved and available drugs, as well as those under development.

In Frontiers in Immunology, a team of researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration review all of the COVID-19 clinical and research findings to date. They provide a breakdown of key immunological factors underlying the clinical stages of COVID-19 illness that could potentially be targeted by existing therapeutic drugs.

Dr. Montserrat Puig of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, senior author of the review, stated that "there are multiple factors involved in determining if the patient's immune response will be insufficient or successful in combating the infection. Our review is an overview of these factors and how they can be considered to define the context in which medications currently used for other diseases, or development of novel agents, can be utilized to prevent, ameliorate or cure COVID-19."

We know that during the early stage of COVID-19 people can show no symptoms or mild symptoms, and for many the disease resolves.

For others it can be catastrophic. The illness can progress to a severe stage with manifestations including Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, accompanied by severe lung inflammation and damage. Patients with severe COVID-19 are often admitted to intensive care units and require life support with medical ventilation.

This review compiles and summarizes published up-to-date studies unraveling the factors leading to the cytokine storm and its consequences observed in COVID-19, including the immunological events underlying the severe manifestation of the disease.

The analysis is further supplemented with knowledge previously acquired from other coronaviruses including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

The authors underscore key immunological events that might tip the balance from a protective to a hyperinflammatory response leading to life-threatening conditions. They outline a promising list of currently available drugs that are either under study or under consideration for use in COVID-19 based on their potential to influence these key immunological events.

These drugs include those that could inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry into host cells, antivirals with the potential to block SARS-CoV-2 replication or factors that could boost the antiviral response, monoclonal antibodies targeting pro-inflammatory cytokines that drive the hyperinflammatory response and therapeutics that could improve the function of the lungs.

Puig states that "approaches to therapy in the early stage of the disease will differ from those in its severe late stage." Adding that "as the results of clinical trials become available, it may become increasingly clear that there is likely no single magic bullet to resolve the disease but a combination of several interventions that target different key factors of COVID-19 may well be required."

Puig cautions that "the research and data obtained from COVID-19 studies are rapidly evolving and continuously updated. Thus, as clearly stated in our review, the information provided is a 'lessons learned' to date and describes the knowledge available at the time of the publication of the review."

The description of the immunological profile of the clinical stages of COVID-19 provided in this review will enable more informed decisions about the type and timing of treatments to be evaluated in clinical trials.

Puig explains that "our hope is that the information contained in our review will help professionals in COVID-19 research develop new tools and agents to better treat those at high risk of severe COVID-19."
Notes to Editors

Please link to the original research article in your reporting: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01131/full

Corresponding author: Montserrat Puig

Email: montserrat.puig@fda.hhs.gov

Corresponding Author's Institution: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Frontiers is an award-winning Open Science platform and leading Open Access scholarly publisher. Our mission is to make research results openly available to the world, thereby accelerating scientific and technological innovation, societal progress and economic growth. We empower scientists with innovative Open Science solutions that radically improve how science is published, evaluated and disseminated to researchers, innovators and the public. Access to research results and data is open, free and customized through Internet Technology, thereby enabling rapid solutions to the critical challenges we face as humanity. For more information, visit http://www.frontiersin.org and follow @Frontiersin on Twitter.


Related Clinical Trials Articles from Brightsurf:

Nearly 1 in 5 cancer patients less likely to enroll in clinical trials during pandemic
A significant portion of cancer patients may be less likely to enroll in a clinical trial due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 clinical trials lack diversity
Despite disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death among people of color, minority groups are significantly underrepresented in COVID-19 clinical trials.

Why we should trust registered clinical trials
In a time when we have to rely on clinical trials for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, a new study brings good news about the credibility of registered clinical trials.

Inclusion of children in clinical trials of treatments for COVID-19
This Viewpoint discusses the exclusion of children from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) clinical trials and why that could harm treatment options for children.

Review evaluates how AI could boost the success of clinical trials
In a review publishing July 17, 2019 in the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, researchers examined how artificial intelligence (AI) could affect drug development in the coming decade.

Kidney patients are neglected in clinical trials
The exclusion of patients with kidney diseases from clinical trials remains an unsolved problem that hinders optimal care of these patients.

Clinical trials beginning for possible preeclampsia treatment
For over 20 years, a team of researchers at Lund University has worked on developing a drug against preeclampsia -- a serious disorder which annually affects around 9 million pregnant women worldwide and is one of the main causes of death in both mothers and unborn babies.

Underenrollment in clinical trials: Patients not the problem
The authors of the study published this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology investigated why many cancer clinical trials fail to enroll enough patients.

When designing clinical trials for huntington's disease, first ask the experts
Progress in understanding the genetic mutation responsible for Huntington's disease (HD) and at least some molecular underpinnings of the disease has resulted in a new era of clinical testing of potential treatments.

New ALS therapy in clinical trials
New research led by Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Read More: Clinical Trials News and Clinical Trials Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.