Thursday, July 16, 2020

the race for treatment is accelerating

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Around the world, no fewer than 108 patient trials are testing the effectiveness of around 40 potential treatments.

On March 20, at the heart of the Novavax laboratory, in Rockville (United States), responsible for finding a vaccine against the coronavirus.
On March 20, at the heart of the Novavax laboratory, in Rockville (United States), responsible for finding a vaccine against the coronavirus. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

While the new coronavirus does not seem ready to stop its mad rush, researchers around the world are working to find a treatment. For the moment, there is no remedy capable of preventing the diffusion of the virus in the organism and, a fortiori, of preventing its attacks on the lungs of the most fragile. While chloroquine has received a lot of attention in recent weeks – despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness – many other molecules at least as promising are currently being tested.

To accelerate the discovery of a treatment, scientists are betting on a strategy called “repositioning”. “The idea is to use drugs that already exist and that could inhibit replication of the virus”, explains Pr Xavier Nassif, Director General of the Institut Pasteur de Lille. In other words, rely on chance. “If, luckily, a drug turns out to be effective, we could directly do clinical trials in humans,

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