At the beginning of the pandemic, there were few known treatments for people who were severely ill.
While there are no drugs that specifically target COVID, there are more options for drugs that can help treat how it affects the body.
Remdesivir is an anti-viral drug.
It was developed in 2009 as a potential treatment for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and hepatitis C.
Studies show it can shorten recovery time. It is typically reserved for people who require oxygen.
Tocilizumab and baricitinib are anti-inflammatory drugs.
Neither drug targets the virus itself but works to treat the inflammation caused by COVID.
Steroids also are used to treat inflammation caused by COVID-19 with a combination of other drugs.
It can work to reduce the severity of the illness.
“Dexamethasone blunts the intensity of the inflammatory response out immune system makes when trying to fight COVID-19, said Cleveland Clinic critical care physician Joseph Khabbaza, MD.
Ventilators and other oxygen support can be used to help patients with the most severe COVID symptoms.
It helps maintain oxygen levels for people who can’t breathe on their own.
Of course, the other key element is getting vaccinated, which helps prevent COVID-19 in many cases and keeps those who are infected from getting seriously ill.
“No vaccine is ever perfect in completely preventing illness,” Dr. Khabbaza says. “But they do offer you immense protection against severe cases. The number of hospitalizations for vaccinated patients due to COVID-19 is incredibly low.”