In addition to vaccines, since the start of the corona pandemic, there is also a great need for drugs that can inhibit the disease process. A lot of ineffective miracle cures are touted on the internet, but there are also hopeful developments. The big question: who is the first to market an effective, affordable and easy-to-use tool?
“There is absolutely a rat race going on,” says professor of microbiology and OMT member Marc Bonten against Nieuwsuur. “Whoever hits the line first is going to set the standard.” He is involved in pharmaceutical research on coronavirus drugs and expects to be able to apply new drugs to covid patients this winter. Bonten is an infectious disease coordinator at UMC Utrecht. The second phase of research on the efficacy of a protein-based drug, from pharmaceuticals Molecular Partners and Novartis, has just been completed. Other means are already ready to use.
Good results are also achieved in practice with factory-made antibodies. If injected early in the disease process, they prevent 70 to 80 percent of mortality and hospitalization.
Former US President Donald Trump was treated successfully with it a year ago. These monoclonal antibodies have been used in our country since this summer. A hopeful development, but there is a major disadvantage to the new drugs: they are still less effective and many times more expensive than a corona vaccination.
Roy Termeulen has a immune disorder and is one of the patients who received the antibodies:
The Dutch government purchased the monoclonal antibodies at an unknown price. The cost is estimated at least €2000 per treatment. This is a hundred times more expensive than a common vaccination, which also protects 97 percent against ICU admissions.
At the moment, a large proportion of coronavirus patients in the hospital are unvaccinated. It may be that people who refused a vaccine so far will also need a much more expensive drug.
Infectiologist Joost Wiersinga of the Amsterdam UMC: “As an individual doctor its relatively easy, you treat everyone as well as you can. But as a doctor, you should also look at the social interest. And if you zoom out and look at the cost, this is a very expensive therapy. Prevention is better than cure.”
In addition to the monoclonal antibodies, there is still the medicine Ivermectin. Politicians such as Wybren van Haga and Thierry Baudet argue for the use of this highly discussed anti-parasite drug on social media. Ivermectin made the news because users in the US landed in hospital after using high doses of Ivermectin at home.
A group of independent scientists analyzed all 26 studies on the application of Ivermectin for covid-19, and studies with high positive results, such as Egypt and Iran, prove careless or fraudulent. For example, tested patient groups appear to be much smaller than suggested and there are no comparison groups.
Sydney medical researcher Kyle Sheldrick: “Especially a third of the investigations have been fraudulent. The dates are not subtly faked, but manufactured in a childish way.”
The rogue publications appear on so-called preprint servers and have not been controlled by other scientists. According to Sheldrick, the authors, mostly from South America, the Middle East and Asia, are trying to score with it.
He believes that the probability of discovering the fraud is minimal, as it is an existing drug. Newly developed resources do take place far-reaching data control, both by colleagues and health authorities.
Larger, methodologically well-designed studies show no significant effectiveness. The doses required for any effect should be dangerously high. Three thorough studies are still ongoing, including at the University of Oxford.
Ivermectin should not be prescribed in the Netherlands. The Limburg general practitioner Rob Elens did so and was fined 3,000 euros from the Inspectorate, as he confirms against Nieuwsuur. Elens previously promoted the likewise ineffective Hydroxychloroquine.