Is there hope that something will be available soon to help us fight this virus, known as SARS-CoV-2? Here’s a look at what’s on tap and how soon it could be ready.
Timeline: First data could come in April
Remdesivir, an antiviral medicine that failed as an Ebola treatment, was initially developed to work against a different coronavirus. There’s some evidence that it benefits Covid-19 patients.
Timeline: Data could be available by summer; drugs available now
Drugs against autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis work by tamping down the immune system. This could, ironically, be useful against in Covid-19, because the SARS-CoV-2 virus can make the body overreact, causing what’s called a “cytokine storm,” damaging the body.
Timeline: Late 2021, possibly many years
There is one approach that could deliver a vaccine faster than others: It uses messenger RNA to make cells produce proteins that could lead to immunity. This approach has never been used in a widely available vaccine. The biotech Moderna is in the lead here, but others, such as BioNTech, working with Pfizer, are working on a similar approach. It could take 18 months to be sure that approach works and is broadly safe.