Pharmacologic Treatments for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID
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The global pandemic of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and has since spread worldwide. As of April 5, 2020, there have been more than 1.2 million reported cases and 69 000 deaths in more than 200 countries. This novel Betacoronavirus is similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV); based on its genetic proximity, it likely originated from bat-derived coronaviruses with spread via an unknown intermediate mammal host to humans. The viral genome of SARS-CoV-2 was rapidly sequenced to enable diagnostic testing, epidemiologic tracking, and development of preventive and therapeutic strategies.

Observations: No proven effective therapies for this virus currently exist. The rapidly expanding knowledge regarding SARS-CoV-2 virology provides a significant number of potential drug targets. The most promising therapy is remdesivir. Remdesivir has potent in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2, but it is not US Food and Drug Administration approved and currently is being tested in ongoing randomized trials. Oseltamivir has not been shown to have efficacy, and corticosteroids are currently not recommended. Current clinical evidence does not support stopping angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers in patients with COVID-19.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic represents the greatest global public health crisis of this generation and, potentially, since the pandemic influenza outbreak of 1918. The speed and volume of clinical trials launched to investigate potential therapies for COVID-19 highlight both the need and capability to produce high-quality evidence even in the middle of a pandemic. No therapies have been shown effective to date.

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