The COVID-19 infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 currently does not have any treatment although several existing approved drugs are being used to treat the disease symptoms.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess which is currently the most promising therapeutic drug or class for COVID-19.

Analysis of the poll results shows that Remdesivir either alone or in combination with other drugs is considered as the most promising drug or class for COVID-19, as voted by 22% of the respondents.

Monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with other drugs were believed to be the next most promising drug or class for COVID-19 by 19% of the respondents each.

Promising therapeutic drug or class for COVID-19

Other class of therapies were voted as the most promising by 13% of the respondents, while convalescent plasma and immunomodulators were voted as the most promising by 10% of the respondents each.

A minority 5% and 2% of the respondents respectively voted other antivirals and anticoagulants as the most promising.

The analysis is based on 267 responses received from readers of Pharmaceutical Technology, a Verdict network site, between 29 July and 07 October 2020.

Promising therapeutic drug or class for COVID-19

The lack of drugs or vaccines for the treatment of COVID-19 infection has led doctors and healthcare workers to test the efficacy of existing drugs and therapies in treating the disease.

Antiviral drug Remdesivir has emerged as the standard of care for hospitalised COVID-19 patients. The drug has shown effectiveness in helping patients recover four days sooner compared to other drugs or therapies. Another antiviral drug, hydroxychloroquine, initially appeared to benefit patients and was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug, however, was later found to increase mortality rate in patients with cardiovascular problems and its EUA was revoked by the FDA.

Anti-inflammatory drugs such as tocilizumab have also shown efficacy in improving recovery in severely ill patients particularly those on ventilators although full-scale clinical trials are needed to confirm their benefit.

Experimental therapies using antibodies have also proved to be effective in treating the symptoms of COVID-19 patients. Convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies are two such therapies. While monoclonal antibodies are currently being tested in the pre-clinical stage, convalescent plasma has shown efficacy in helping patients recover faster.

A COVID-19 vaccine is, however, unlikely to become available until the end of 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).