If Priscila Medina had gotten COVID-19 a year ago, she would have had no treatments proven safe and effective to try. But when the 30-year-old nurse arrived at a Long Island hospital last month, so short of breath she could barely talk, doctors knew just what to do.
They quickly arranged for her to get a novel drug that supplies virus-blocking antibodies, and “by the next day I was able to get up and move around,” she said. After two days, “I really started turning the corner. I was showering, eating, playing with my son.”
Treatments like these can help newly diagnosed patients avoid hospitalization, but they are grossly underused because they require an IV. Other medicines for sicker patients can speed recovery, but only a few improve survival.
While vaccines are helping to curb the pandemic, easier and better treatments are needed, especially as virus variants spread.