BLUFAlthough treatments for COVID-19 are not a substitute for vaccinations, they are part of the arsenal in the fight against the virus.
COVID-19 vaccinations have been developed at a remarkably rapid rate. What tends to receive less attention, though, is the concurrent search for effective COVID-19 treatments. There are currently two COVID-19 treatments provisionally approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)—Remdesivir and Sotrovimab. In addition, two further treatments, Molnupiravir and Pfizer’s PF-07321332, were recently granted provisional determination, meaning both are eligible to apply for provisional approval. So, how do these treatments work, and when are they used?
Remdesivir was the first COVID treatment approved in Australia. It was initially developed to treat Ebola. Remdesivir is administered intravenously and is only available to COVID-19 patients who are severely unwell. Its effectiveness is considered ‘moderate’.
Sotrovimab was the second treatment approved by the TGA. It’s administered intravenously as a single dose and has been shown to reduce hospitalisation or death by 79 per cent in adults with mild to moderate COVID-19.
Molnupiravir is expected to be provisionally approved in early 2022. Interim results show it reduces the risk of hospitalisation or death by approximately 50 per cent in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. This oral medication can be taken at home.
Pfizer’s PF-07321332 is also taken orally. It is the type of drug used to treat HIV and hepatitis C. There is limited data on this drug so far.
There is still a lack of clear evidence on the best treatments for COVID-19. Therefore, vaccination continues to be our best form of defence against the disease.