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The hunt for drugs for mild COVID: Scientists seek to treat those at lower risk

While much attention is given to the development of several drugs (there are already more than half-dozen COVID-19 drugs in hand) in treating severe COVID-19, not enough attention is given to the drugs that could treat mild COVID. Since the largest population of COVID is turning out to be milder without severe COVID-19 and there are no widely approved medications to ease the mild illness, there is a great need for this. Also, treating even mild cases promptly limits disease spread and reduces opportunities for the virus to mutate, lowering the chances for the emergence of deadly variants. To fill this vacuum many scientists are either trying to repurpose existing drugs, such as fluvoxamine - now used to treat depression, the antiparasitic drug ivermectin, and the asthma drug fluticasone; or developing a totally new type of antiviral with the potential to treat mild COVID-19, such as iminosugars that have the capacity to disrupt viral machinery to form viral particles.

Despite huge challenges like lack of guidelines from organizations like WHO and difficulty to enroll enough subjects for clinical trials, scientists think it is very important to continue working towards developing drugs against mild COVID, because of potentially huge public-health benefits from them.

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