More than 150 drugs are being developed around the world to treat or prevent COVID-19, including antivirals, immunosuppressants and therapies based on antibodies.
Drugs used to treat other illness are also being tested to see if they might work against COVID-19.
“The advantage with working with existing drugs is that they may already have been shown to be safe, or at least their side-effect profile is understood,” says Vivek Goel, the University of Toronto’s vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives, and a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “This could reduce the time it takes to be proven to be effective for COVID-19 and then to be approved for that indication.
“If we have to work on creating a whole new drug, it will take many months, if not years, to bring that to market.”
COVID-19: What’s Next is a bi-weekly podcast created by Goel in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by producer Lisa Lightbourn.
In episode 11, Goel – a renowned public health expert and founding head of Public Health Ontario, which was set up in response to the 2003 SARS outbreak – explains how different types of drugs work, and why there is hope an effective treatment will be found.
Note: The information in this podcast is current as of the posting date. Listeners should consult their local public health agency for the latest information in their jurisdiction.