Experts advocate early treatment of COVID-19 to save lives

Washington D.C. [USA], June 20 (ANI): Experts are recommending for earlier actions to minimize hospitalizations and death from coronavirus.

In a new review article by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW Medicine, published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases, researchers outlined the strategy necessary to diagnose and treat the disease before it becomes uncontrollable. It includes:

- The need for widely available home testing with nasal self-swabbing

- Smaller, rapid studies using viral-shedding metrics and symptoms to measure the risk of disease progression

- The ability to safely deliver therapies to infected patients' homes

- Including disproportionately affected minority and underserved communities

"Without a vaccine, the best way to keep people out of the hospital and potentially dying from COVID-19 is to diagnose and treat early," said lead author Dr Joshua Schiffer, a physician and researcher in Fred Hutch's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division.

"We've seen similar strategies for other infectious diseases like HIV, Ebola, and influenza significantly lower transmission rates and mortality and believe it would have the same types of benefits for COVID-19," Schiffer added.

The authors note that most COVID-19-related clinical trials are evaluating therapies in patients who are already hospitalized.

Given that the median time between the development of symptoms and the need for hospitalization is a week, they believe, "A golden opportunity to intervene early is being missed."

Fred Hutch researchers are playing a leading role in an international scientific response to the pandemic -- tracking the virus's spread, developing diagnostic tests, designing vaccine trials, and working to prevent future outbreaks. (ANI)