Emerging Therapies and Vaccines that Show Promise in Combating COVID-19

A novel strain of the coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, emerged in Wuhan, China in December of last year, 2019.

Since then, it has been spreading rapidly across countries and continents, leading the World Health Organization to proclaim a pandemic in March 2020. [1]

Following this announcement, and witnessing the rapid progress of the virus, the medical community has been working non-stop to find an effective treatment.

So far, a definitive preventative and treatment strategies are lacking due to the limited knowledge of the virus, however, several different experimental therapies are being developed and tested.

Even though no therapy has been officially approved yet, we’ve compiled a comprehensive overview of the treatments that show the most promise in combating this outbreak.

What’s Important

SARS-CoV-2 is a member of the coronaviruses family and it’s known to cause the respiratory disease called COVID-19.

It’s believed to spread mainly via close contact with an infected person or by touching contaminated objects and surfaces.

The most common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, and muscle pain, however, there have also been many asymptomatic cases.

People who have a chronic condition or are over the age of 60 are considered to be at a greater risk of developing more severe symptoms.

Preventative measures for controlling the spread of the virus have been wearing a mask, washing your hands and avoiding touching your face, and practicing social distancing.

Some Promising Discoveries

The urgency of the pandemic has put global pressure on the medical community to find a reliable and effective treatment as soon as possible.

There have been some attempts at developing new drugs, and some existing drugs have been tested as well, though, many of them failed.

However, there have been other promising treatments that have exhibited positive results in COVID-19 patients.

This has been a step forward as the medical community is still working towards developing the right therapy for this novel coronavirus.

Antiviral Medication

Remdesivir is an antiviral medication that had antiviral activity in vitro against several different families of viruses, including coronaviruses.

Specifically, in some in vitro and animal studies, remdesivir seemed to be effective against SARS and MERS-CoV.

In fact, in a recent placebo-controlled trial involving COVID-19 patients, remdesivir shortened their recovery time by 31%, though it didn’t reduce the mortality rate. [2]

Plasma Therapy

Plasma therapy is an experimental treatment that also seems very promising in combating COVID-19.

More specifically, patients who have recovered have antibodies (proteins that fight off infections) in their blood and could be donors for severely ill patients.

The liquid portion of the blood is called plasma, and this is where these antibodies are found.

The idea is that this plasma could be given to patients to help boost and modulate their immune system in the battle against the coronavirus.

This method has been tried and tested, and it seems to be effective in that it has already helped patients to recover or reduce their symptoms. [3]


Corticosteroids are a class of drugs that lower the level of inflammation in the body and reduce the activity of the immune system.

Dexamethasone, in particular, is used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, skin problems, asthma, severe allergies, and others.

In this case, clinical trials have shown it to be beneficial against COVID-19 even in severe cases. [4]

Being a broad-spectrum medication, Dexamethasone is very accessible, which makes it a good candidate for the treatment of COVID-19.

Vaccine Development

Ever since the start of the pandemic, the development of a vaccine has been the most sought-out option, but also the most time-consuming one.

Luckily, several different medical teams in different countries have been tirelessly working on developing one, including the US, the UK, China, and Germany.

For all we know so far, it seems like there may be one ready sooner than we expected.

Having said that, as of July 2020, it was announced that some vaccine candidates were already undergoing clinical trials, with two beginning Phase III, and seven beginning Phase I or II. [5]

One of the vaccine candidates undergoing human trials has already been confirmed to have finished with Phase I, and it was reported that it generated an immune response. [6]

In Conclusion

It’s been a difficult few months for a lot of countries in the world. This unexpected outbreak has halted almost every aspect of everyday life and has made it more challenging.

Thankfully, despite all the havoc, there have been some breakthroughs that give a lot of hope for combatting this pandemic, and some of them show some real promise.


1.Wu, D.; Koganti, R.; Lambe, U.P.; Yadavalli, T.; Nandi, S.S.; Shukla, D. Vaccines and Therapies in Development for SARS-CoV-2 Infections. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 1885. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061885

2.Singh, V.K.; Mishra, A.; Singh, S.; Kumar, P.; Singh, M.; Jagannath, C.; Khan, A. Emerging Prevention and Treatment Strategies to Control COVID-19. Pathogens 2020, 9, 501. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9060501

3.Sethi, A.; Bach, H. Evaluation of Current Therapies for COVID-19 Treatment. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 1097. doi:https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2607/8/8/1097

4.Jackson, L. A.; Anderson, E. J.; Rouphael, N. G.; Roberts, P. C.; Makhene, M.; Coler, R. N.; McCullough, M. P.; Chappell, J. D.; Denison, M. R.; Stevens, L. J.; et al. An MRNA Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 — Preliminary Report. N Engl J Med, 2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa2022483

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