Different active ingredients: the treatment of Covid-19: What is success?

The development of new drugs and vaccines against a disease usually takes years, often decades. Especially the clinical studies in humans are very complex.

However, in times of Corona pandemic, it needs to go quickly. Experts hope, therefore, particularly on the success of two other approaches:

Reclassification of drugs

For other diseases in developed or partially developed compounds could help against the lung disease Covid-19. Their use could be done faster than if you developed a new active substance.


Promising the active ingredient Remdesivir applies. The substance is aimed directly against the Virus, was originally developed against Ebola infections. Since you brought at the time of the clinical examination, there is no good results, has not been followed in the development.

Because the first laboratory results looked against corona virus, a good one, is Remdesivir tested in Germany in two clinical studies. The Federal Institute for drugs and medical devices (BfArM) has this on the 10. Approved in March.

In an international study, in which the substance 600 patients with moderate symptoms and 400 with severe symptoms be tested should be taking part in the Munich, clinic Schwabing, the Hamburg University hospital Eppendorf (UKE) and the University hospital Düsseldorf.

The study should bring success, could come to the Mediterranean until at least the end of 2020, on the market, said the Munich-based chief physician Clemens Wendtner on Tuesday. For selected individual cases, the düsseldorf University hospital established, among other things, Remdesivir at Covid-19-patients.


There are several virus-fighting substances, their effectiveness will be tested against the pathogen of Sars-CoV-2 just about the anti-Influenza drug Favipiravir.

Unproblematic, these so-called anti-virals are: “viruses change and can become resistant,” says Melanie Brinkmann, Virologist at the Braunschweig-based Helmholtz center for infection research (HZI). Similar to antibiotics, it could are also used in antiviral resistance.


Another high-profile active substance in the fight against Sars-CoV-2 the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is. The active ingredient is not directly on the Virus but interfere in cellular processes, which are essential for the Virus existentially, explains Brinkmann.

A recent French clinical study to not be “strong”. The Berlin-based virologist Christian Drosten had questioned the validity of the study. This does not mean, however, that the drug against the disease is ineffective.

On Wednesday, it was approved in Germany, a clinical study to investigate the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19. The fabric, however, has significant side effects.

Also called immune modulators might help against Covid-19. These drugs affect the human immune system. This can be useful because the body reacts very strongly to Sars-CoV-2 and can cause in the lungs even more damage.

Despite scientists work also on the development of entirely new active ingredients. To it but a drug is a result, is expected to take many years. For the current pandemic, you are going to play probably no role more.


People make antibodies against a variety of pathogens that enter the body, even against the new Coronavirus. A special role in neutralizing play at the end of the anti-body.

“The neutralizing antibodies are patrolling virtually in front of the cell and catch the Virus, so that it cannot enter the cell,” explains Virologist Brinkmann. Even after a Patient has recovered, the antibodies at least for a while in the blood.

On the formation of such antibodies, the effect of the most classic vaccines is based. A clinically established method is to take an antibody of recovering people and to give to Sufferers.

These antibodies can fight the particular pathogen. Theoretically, it is also conceivable that such clinical staff such antibodies are preventive – they should receive, however, every two weeks, estimates Brinkmann.

The Hannover Medical school (MHH) is currently looking for people who have had Covid-19 and are recovered. With a blood plasma donation you could make, soon, anti-body for Ill.

“We absolutely want to try, whether we can help non-critically ill,” said the MHH-Director of the Institute for transfusion medicine, Rainer Blasczyk.

Also clinics in New York to try to save with antibodies from Convalescent life, such as the magazine “Nature” reported a few days ago. Since antibodies are in contrast to conventional medications, the body’s own substances, should be in the rule and the side effects are low.

At the Technical University of Braunschweig (TU) can be obtained, human antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 meanwhile, in a test tube. In contrast to preparations from the blood gesundeter patients is difficult, this could be an inexhaustible source of stresses Brinkmann. These antibodies should be tested as to their effectiveness.

“Neutralizing antibodies are, for me, is currently the most promising,” says Brinkmann. Such antibodies can be prepared, in the meantime, biotechnology in the laboratory. The use of laboratory-produced monoclonal antibodies in about three months.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)

*The contribution of “Different drugs: treatment of Covid-19: What is promising?” published by FitForFun. Contact with the executives here.