A total of 155 drugs and 79 vaccines are currently being developed worldwide to combat COVID-19, according to a report by the Austrian Institute for Health Technology Assessment (AIHTA).
The Vienna-based institute, which specialises in scientific decision support in the health care sector worked closely with European colleagues to produce this overview. Most of the 155 drugs under development against COVID-19 have already been approved for other (viral) infections and therefore require special evidence for approval against COVID-19.
Remdesivir, Lopinavir + Ritonavir (Kaletra), Favipirvir (Avigan), Darunavir (Prezista), Chloroquine phosphates (Resochin), Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), Camostat Mesilate (Foipan), APN01 (rhACE2), Tocilizumab (Roactemra), Sarilumab (Kevzara) and Interferon beta 1a (SNG001).
Commenting on these compounds, Dr Wild points out: “Since the majority of these compounds are drugs that are already approved for other indications, international regulators emphasise the need for robust evidence for pivotal studies”, says Dr Claudia Wild, head of the AIHTA.
The 79 vaccine candidates identified by the AIHTA in the HSS are divided into three vaccine types: Live vaccines (with attenuated virus strains), dead vaccines (with virus proteins) or gene-based vaccines (with specific DNA or mRNA). Most of these projects are still in the development stage and have not yet been approved.
The AIHTA then created so-called vignettes for those drugs or vaccines that are particularly advanced in development or those that are considered particularly promising in the specialist literature. These are short, concise descriptions that provide additional information. In total, the AIHTA issued 11 vignettes on drugs and 8 on vaccine candidates.