The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines has put the focus of the pandemic fight on inoculating as many people as quickly as possible. But outbreaks are still raging worldwide, with thousands of new infections every day and health systems under pressure to care for the sick, a reality that will continue for some time. Vaccine timelines also keep getting more and more stretched. With that in mind, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are in treating the disease. The short answer is, there’s progress but it’s mixed.
For months, Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir and the generic steroid dexamethasone have been used on the front lines after being shown to reduce hospital stays and improve recovery speeds. Now, as we learn more about COVID-19, more treatments — including some that at first drew skepticism from physicians and scientists — are proving effective in certain circumstances. Others, such as convalescent plasma, are not. Let’s take a look: