Recent Breakthroughs in Treating COVID-19

As scientists and engineers around the world race to develop treatments and vaccines for the COVID-19 disease, their promising breakthroughs are coming to light. Every day reveals new technological developments and new reasons for hope that humanity will find a way to overcome the pandemic.

Here are some breakthroughs that have made the news in recent days:

  • Abbott Laboratories has announced the development of a COVID-19 point-of-care test that can deliver positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. The test has been approved by the FDA and will be distributed beginning this week. Abbott expects to produce 5,000,000 tests per month.

  • United Biomedical has partnered with San Miguel County in Colorado to be the first in the nation to test an entire county for COVID-19 with a new antibody diagnostic test. This information can be used to make public health decisions, including whether quarantines are necessary and for how long. Widespread antibody testing will allow for an expedient return to normalcy in society.

  • Developments with hydroxychloroquine:

    • Politico: The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday issued an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs which have been historically used to treat malaria. Pharmaceutical companies Sandoz and Bayer have already donated millions of doses to the US Strategic National Stockpile.

    • WSJ reports that physicians are using two drugs in combination—hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin – to treat patients with advanced Covid-19 symptoms. Both in vitro laboratory analyses and clinical observations have demonstrated positive outcomes for this treatment.

    • A board-certified family practitioner in upstate New York, claims to have treated over 500 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc sulfate. His reported results: zero deaths, zero patients intubated, and only four hospitalizations. (Note: these results are anecdotal and observational, and do not constitute a proper clinical trial outcome.)

  • WSJ also reports that drug maker Johnson & Johnson will begin human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine by September 2020. The company says that the vaccine would be sold on a not-for-profit basis, and that it hopes to make available 1 billion doses by the end of 2021.

  • Medical device company Medtronic is making the design files for its PB560 ventilator system available to the public. The goal is to enable rapid ventilator manufacturing around the world and to inspire other manufacturers and engineers to develop their own lifesaving innovations.

  • BBC reports that Mercedes Formula One is partnering with University College Dublin to build Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which have already been used in China and Italy to help COVID-19 patients breathe.

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