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Early COVID treatments could be a bridge to vaccine

Monoclonal antibodies that stop the coronavirus from spreading in the body are among promising strategies for averting severe illness from Covid-19 before vaccines arrive, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Antibody-based medications, other blood products from recovered patients and antivirals are being investigated as early treatments, Fauci said. The aim is to prevent patients from developing the serious lung damage for which Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone are administered.

“We are focusing very heavily now on treatment of early infection and, or prevention of infection,” Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association in an interview Friday. “And that’s the bridge to the vaccine.”
Immunization against SARS-CoV-2 could begin in the US in November or December, Fauci said, though it will probably take until at least the third quarter of 2021 for enough Americans to have been protected against the pandemic virus to significantly diminish its threat. Fauci said 100 million doses of vaccine may be produced by December, with all six companies supplying the US slated to have made 700 million doses by next April. – Bloomberg

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