This is a lead that could help stem the Covid-19 epidemic. Preventive treatments are being studied in the laboratory and in clinical trials. According to the President of the Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy, who spoke on Friday October 9 on BFMTV and in The Parisian, there are “good reasons to believe” that preventive drugs will be available “in the spring”.
However, to date, the High Authority for Health (HAS), which keeps a watch on clinical studies for drugs against the virus, ensures thatshe has “no knowledge of effective preventive treatment against Covid-19”.
In truth, Jean-François Delfraissy speaks of avenues of research, which are only in their infancy. “The monoclonal antibodies for example, which have been used in Regeneron treatment which was administered to Donald Trump“, he quotes RTL.fr.
Manufactured in the laboratory, these antibodies are then injected intravenously. The goal: ahelp the immune system neutralize the coronavirus. Tuesday, October 13, the pharmaceutical group Eli Lilly announced the suspension of its clinical trial on a similar treatment, but did not detail why.
The track of “repositioning”
We can imagine that this treatment will eventually be used as a preventive measure, but we must remain very careful. “We have to wait for these antibodies to show their effectiveness”, specifies Jean-François Delfraissy. The HAS insists for its part on the fact that no treatment based on antibodies has so far proven its effectiveness in studies. stage 3, that is, by testing on a large scale on humans.
The president of scientific Council also evokes “second generation molecules”. The idea, then, is to see if drugs which already exist can be used against the coronavirus. This is called the “repositioning”.
In France, the Institut Pasteur de Lille has notably received a donation of five million euros from luxury giant LVMH to test a molecule, identified as part of a repositioning program. But she still has to be tested in vivo.
Several drugs, tested to date in a curative way, could also be used in the long term in preventive, if they show a long-term action and not begetting no more risks than benefits. They could take the form, for example, of nasal spray, indicates Jean-François Delfraissy.
A nasal spray medication?
The track of sprays nasaux is also interesting. Indeed, it is often through the mucous membranes of the nose that the virus enters the body. At the end of August, a CNRS research team announced that it had found “a decoy capable of irreversibly blocking the SARS-CoV-2 virus”, who could appear in the form of a nasal spray or oral, or lozenges to melt under the tongue. The treatment has so far only been tested in the laboratory.
In Auvergne, the company Vitrobio also claims to have created a nasal spray that would work as a kind of bandage to stop the virus : it would block inflammation and repair the mucous membrane, thus reducing the risk of developing a severe form of the disease. Near France Blue, the laboratory ensures that the spray could be marketed in November.
On the side of the Academy of Medicine, Professor Buisson, epidemiologist, confirms that there is “an all-out search” but that “no preventive treatment has yet proven its effectiveness”. “At one point, it was thought that thehydroxychloroquine, failing to work in curative, would perhaps work in preventive. But this hypothesis also has been dismissed“, he explains to RTL.fr.
In short, there are many reasons to hope, hence the statements of Jean-François Delfraissy. From there to saying that there will be preventive treatments in the spring, nothing is certain. Himself confirms thatthis is “only a hypothesis”. Above all, Professor Delfraissy specifies that preventive treatments can only be used with a “vision”, which must be validated by the health authorities. Concretely, According to him, they should be used instead on people at risk.