While President Trump continues to promote antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine sulfate and azithromycin to treat COVID-19—“What do you have to lose?” he exclaimed during the April 4 Coronavirus Task Force Briefing—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.
Trump declared in a March 21 tweet that the hydrochloroquine-azithromycin combination has “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”
Supporters of the combo cite positive results published by a Chinese research team, including a March 18 study in Nature-published Cell Discovery suggesting that “HCQ can efficiently inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro” and has “good potential to combat the disease.” They acknowledged that the possibility awaits confirmation by clinical trials,” added the researchers, who in February reported positive in vitro results for chloroquine phosphate and Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir.
Like millions of other Americans, Victoria Gray has been sheltering at home with her children as the U.S. struggles through a deadly pandemic, and as protests over police violence have erupted across the country. But Gray is not like any other American. She’s the first