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Monday, December 6, 2021

 The New Treatment Will Offer Trust With Vaccine Combination

A number of new COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be available in the coming months. Each drug plays a slightly different role, but when combined, they have the potential to change the course of the illness, at least in the United States.

An investigational antiviral from Merck and a monoclonal antibody from AstraZeneca, as well as a handful of additional medicines in research, might make COVID-19 a much less frightening illness.

The New Treatment Will Offer Trust With Vaccine Combination

COVID-19 will not go away, according to Schaffner, but we may form an uneasy truce with it, just as we do with the flu, which kills up to 52,000 people in a bad year, the majority of whom are children and the elderly. Over the last 20 months, more than 700,000 Americans have perished as a result of COVID-19. 

The New Treatment Will Offer Trust With Vaccine Combination

The medicines might be given sequentially, providing layers of protection both to prevent sickness and, if someone becomes ill, to lower the chance of having a severe case of COVID-19.

Most must be administered early in the course of an infection, making it even more critical for individuals to be able to be tested promptly, according to Dr. Rajesh Gandhi, a disease physician at Massachusetts Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Additional coronavirus testing, just made available by the government, should alert people to the fact that they are sick sooner. Other medicines under development attempt to reduce the number of fatalities among people who require hospitalization.

None of the medications, he added, are a replacement for vaccination, noting that vaccinations, which are supported by the US government, cost less than $12 per injection and give good protection against serious illness. Vaccines, however, do not operate properly and do not give adequate protection for those who are immunocompromised or have allergies that prohibit them from receiving the injections.

When taken at the first indication of COVID-19 symptoms, the Merck antiviral molnupiravir decreases the risk of severe illness by half, the firm announced last month. Though the antiviral is most effective when administered within two to three days after the onset of symptoms, the fact that it decreased symptoms by half up to five days later is “quite interesting,” he says. It sometimes takes a few days for people to discover they are sick.

It also provides long-term protection, up to 12 months, according to the firm, which means it may significantly improve the lives of those who are immunocompromised and cannot obtain enough protection from vaccination.

Dr. Hugh Montgomery, an Intensive Care Medicine professor at University College London who helped head the AstraZeneca research, said that his sister is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Chemotherapy impairs her immune response, making a COVID-19 vaccination unlikely to protect her.

People like her are becoming even more isolated as nations open up and return to normalcy, he says, since they are more likely to come into contact with the virus than when everyone was at home or veiled. Montgomery thinks that the monoclonal antibody, AZD7442, will provide her with long-term protection, allowing her to see her family and leave the house again.

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