The Desperate Global Search for Treatments

Workers check on chloroquine phosphate

Habeeb Ahmad went through 2 failed courses of drugs for his COVID-19 infection. And then his family failed to get a third drug, remdesivir, theWashington Post reports.

The 41-year-old ophthalmologist and father of 3 remains intubated and unconscious in an ICU in Long Island, New York.

The desperate search for Ahmad reflects the global efforts to find treatments against COVID-19.

Chinese researchers extended hopes yesterday for the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine as a treatment in medRxiv preprint results, The New York Times reports. The study of 62 people who were mildly or moderately ill found that those who took hydroxychloroquine were less likely to progress into a severe form of the disease and suffered cough, fever, and pneumonia for a shorter time—though more research is needed.

President Trump said the chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine could be a "game changer" on March 19, and they have since become scarce in the US, The Hill reports.

The European Medicine Agency recommended yesterday that countries use administer the drugs sparingly against COVID-19 because of shortages—they are also needed to treat patients with autoimmune disorders like lupus.

Encouraging: "Never before, researchers say, have so many experts in so many countries focused simultaneously on a single topic and with such urgency," the Times writes of the global collective effort by scientists to find solutions to COVID-19.

Among the many other candidate treatments are a drug used against Ebola (favipiravir) and the often-mentioned remdesivir.