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Updates in treatment


With all the focus on the COVID-19 vaccine, it is time to review the updates in treatment. We trust that all our hospitals are using evidence-based protocols to determine which patients will benefit the most from the various treatment options out there.  This is the status of treatment updates as of February 2022.

What therapies might help people with severe COVID-19 before hospitalization?
In November 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the emergency use of two monoclonal antibody treatments. One is called Bamlanivimab, and the other is a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab. These treatments are for non-hospitalized adults and children over twelve with moderate COVID-19 symptoms who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms or being hospitalized. These drugs are given intravenously by an IV soon after
developing symptoms.

What medications can doctors use for people hospitalized with COVID-19?
Dexamethasone and other corticosteroids (prednisone, methylprednisolone) are potent anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs are readily available and inexpensive. They are widely used for patients with asthma, sarcoidosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Patients who required supplemental oxygen or ventilators and who received dexamethasone were less likely to die within 28 days than those who received standard care. This recommendation was based on a clinical trial from the NIH.

In October 2020, the FDA approved the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19. The drug may be used to treat adults and children ages 12 and older, weighing at least 88 pounds, and who has been hospitalized for COVID-19. Clinical trials suggest that in these patients, remdesivir may modestly speed up recovery time.

Baricitinib in combination with remdesivir
In November 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to use baricitinib in combination with remdesivir in hospitalized adults and children 2 years and older who require respiratory support.

Ultimately, it takes patients presenting to the health care center in a timely manner so that treatments can reverse the symptoms of the virus. It also takes physicians being aware of the treatment protocols and being aggressive with patients who are too weak to advocate for themselves.

To learn more on the Harvard University Coronavirus Resource Center website, click here.

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The American Heart Association is continuously working to reduce the impact of the coronavirus.

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is an American viral immunologist. She is an Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Shutzer Assistant

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