Safety perspectives on potential COVID-19 treatments

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In order to respond quickly to the COVID-19 crisis, the repurposing of existing drugs is the primary pharmacological strategy. Despite the urgent clinical need for these therapies, it is imperative to consider potential safety issues. A group of scientists from the MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science and the University of Liverpool have written a paper, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, addressing the safety issues of drugs being considered to treat COVID-19. 

Drugs being considered for repurposing include chloroquine and remdesivir as well as certain glucocorticoids and IL-6 receptor inhibitors. This paper reviews some of the most widely-researched repurposed agents in order to identify potential safety considerations using existing information in the context of COVID-19.

The paper concludes with a reminder that the rapid rate of discoveries surrounding COVID-19 therapies generates the need to update our perspective frequently, in order to ensure that the safety of any newly repositioned therapies, novel developmental compounds, or new therapeutic combinations are investigated, with a close eye on the benefit:risk ratio.

Click here to read the full paper on the British Journal of Pharmacology website.

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