Thursday, March 19, 2020

Two generic drugs being tested in U.S. in race to find coronavirus treatments

A worker in protective clothing tests a person in a car at a testing center for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Riverside Medical Group in Secaucus, New Jersey. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

By Deena Beasley

(Reuters) - U.S. researchers, following the lead of scientists in other countries, have launched studies to see whether widely-available, low-cost generic drugs can be used to help treat the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

There are currently no vaccines or treatments for the highly-contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness, so patients can only receive supportive care for now.

But a 1,500-person trial, led by the University of Minnesota, began this week to see whether malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of COVID-19. Two other trials are studying the blood pressure drug losartan as a possible treatment for the disease.

The malaria drug, also being tested in China, Australia and France, was touted earlier this week by Tesla (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk, who recovered from malaria in 2000 after taking the medication.  Read more >>