There’s no denying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of people worldwide. It has led to the loss of lives, compromised public health, and affected people’s livelihoods.
When it comes to fighting off the COVID pandemic, there are three key aspects to focus on. The first is to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The second is to treat COVID-19 patients with appropriate treatments and proper medications. Lastly, it’s best to produce and administer highly efficacious vaccines for immunity against the evolving variants of coronavirus.
That said, drug formulation and delivery become imperative amid the pandemic. It’s good that the health sector, pharmaceutical industry, and other leading institutions are taking steps toward producing drugs and rolling out vaccines.
Let’s take a look at some of the recent trends and developments in drug formulation and delivery amid the COVID pandemic.
Developing and providing vaccination
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in March of last year, there has been a major focus on developing vaccines for the SARS‐CoV‐2. On top of preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus and treating COVID patients are to produce vaccines. However, the goal is to confer long-lived protection for people by ensuring the safety and efficacy of these vaccines.
Currently, there are three authorized and recommended vaccines used in the US and across the world. These include Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson or Jansenn. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared these vaccines are deemed safe and effective while reducing the risk of COVID-19 illness.
The vaccines work in different ways, but they all focus on one thing: providing protection. They help people develop immunity to the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 infection. Specifically, these vaccines create a supply of ‘memory’ T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus. The challenge, however, is ensuring that they are highly effective for new and evolving strains of coronavirus.
Exploring drugs for COVID-19
Apart from vaccines, it’s ideal to formulate drugs for treating patients with COVID-19 infection. However, the challenge is to produce drugs with high potency, excellent safety profile, and inexpensive and scaleable formulation. Along with these is to ensure modular delivery systems for new drugs.
Currently, the proper institutions are exploring over 40 different drugs for their efficacy against the COVID-19. These include antivirals and immune-modulating compounds. They employ robust methods for dissolution testing in evaluating the pharmaceutical absorption of promising compounds. The problem, however, is that most of these drugs exhibit some side effects. But if successful, these drugs can be extremely beneficial in treating infected patients and reducing the mortality rate.
Repurposing existing medications
Another step being taken is repurposing existing medications. Some drugs used for treating common diseases are being tested for SARS‐CoV‐2 infections. Also, some post-infection therapeutics are being studied in clinics for existing drugs’ potential in reducing the severity of COVID-19.
Some of these potential medications are antivirals and antibodies such as chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, ribavirin, and favipiravir. Others include remdesivir, galidesivir, and leronlimab that have gone through the early stage of clinical trials. However, these drugs haven’t yet received approval from the FDA. Once they’re proven effective, they can significantly help treat COVID-19 patients and reduce the skyrocketing cases worldwide.
Pushing for prevention over cure
Despite the new drug formulation, repurposing of existing medications, and rollout of vaccines, prevention is still the name of the game. As of the moment, the paradigm is that prevention is still more effective than cure. Governments and proper authorities continue to implement and enforce health and safety measures such as the following:
- Mask wearing (when in public)
- Regular hand-washing or hand-sanitizing
- Maintaining proper hygiene
- Implementing social distancing
- Home isolation (for sick individuals)
- Restricted movements in public places
- On-and-off lockdowns (depending on the cases)
- Remote work (for businesses and companies)
The ultimate goal is to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and put an end to the pandemic. That said, prevention is key while we’re still in the process of getting fully vaccinated and testing potential drugs for COVID-19 treatments. While world health leaders and global institutions are doing what they can to combat the pandemic, every individual and every family plays a crucial part in this battle against COVID-19.
There’s no doubt that the worse wave of COVID infections has yet to hit the world. But thanks to our global institutions, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, dedicated scientists, and front-line workers continue to work on formulating drugs and rolling out vaccines for the COVID-19. If we can develop highly efficacious and less toxic drugs and vaccines, we may be closer to ending the pandemic soon.