WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We have all felt the impact of COVID-19. Some of us more than others. Many of us may still have questions understanding COVID and how best to prevent and treat it.
We’ve been fighting this pandemic for a year and a half and we still see COVID cases increasing, especially in heavily unvaccinated parts of the country. But that fight is being made easier thanks to an initiative called Combat COVID.
Three vaccines are in the mix in the United States aimed at preventing COVID-19. But the options to treat someone with the virus are rather limited.
“I think people would be surprised to know that there is only one medication approved right now in the treatment of COVID-19 and that’s reserved for people who are in the hospital. I think a lot of folks would say why doesn’t the government do something about that,” said David Wohl, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases, UNC.
The U.S. Health and Human Service Department is doing something about it through a website called Combat COVID. It’s a number of different studies intended to find promising, effective, safe therapies to treat COVID. While more than 61 percent of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated, the rest along with children are still vulnerable, which is why finding more treatment options for your doctor to prescribe remains a top priority.
“She can’t call in a prescription to a local pharmacy for a pill or inhaler or give you a shot. That’s what we need to find something that prevents people from getting sicker and gets them back to work and stops them from shedding the virus to other people,” said Wohl.
The problem is you can’t begin using an untested treatment option on the public just because someone thinks it’s going to work. That’s where clinical trials come into play.
“We have to prove that it does. Clinical trials prove that medicines work. Whether it’s something that you’re taking for your diabetes or your blood pressure or for an infection. That’s what these trials do,” Wohl said.
Dr. Wohl is a lead physician on the ACTIV-2 clinical trial study. He’s calling for more people newly diagnosed with COVID-19 to consider participating in a clinical trial.
“We want people in your area to look at the research and say that looks like just the population that I’m part of, my community is reflected in that study I’m going to take the medicine, doc.”
More than 700 different clinical sites exist in the United States including two in Pennsylvania — one in Philadelphia and the other in Pittsburgh.