160 new coronavirus-fighting drug and vaccine candidates in development

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Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

While President Trump continues to promote antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine sulfate and azithromycin to treat COVID-19 … the global community of drug discovery researchers and biopharmas is developing a much broader menu of therapeutic options.

In all, the tally of vaccines and treatments in development against COVID-19 as of April 13 was at least 161 candidates—more than double the 60 candidates highlighted in GEN‘s previous A-List summarizing therapies in the works against SARS-CoV-2, Catching Up to Coronavirus: Top 60 Treatments in Development.

Our latest collection includes the combination trumpeted by Trump—hydroxychloroquine, marketed by Sanofi as Plaquenil®, and azithromycin, marketed by Pfizer as Zithromax® or “Z-Pak”—as well as chloroquine phosphate, made by Bayer and numerous Chinese manufacturers.

Related article:  Podcast: How to build a coronavirus; alcohol doesn't shrink your brain; and locusts threaten famine in East Africa

Until new treatments show sufficient safety and effectiveness to gain approval, [William A. Haseltine, the HIV/AIDS research pioneer and chairman of ACCESS Health International] wrote April 6, healthcare providers should offer patients passive immune therapy in three stages: “The first stage is sera from convalescents. The second is purified antibody fractions that are safer and more potent, but also achievable—hopefully by summer. The third is monoclonal antibodies, which will take more time but is already on the fast track.”

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