Life & Opinion

Emerging hopes in the fight against coronavirus

I recently posted a note about the benefit of being an optimist in times of uncertainty. Here’s the link to the original post.

In a nutshell, it said that whenever solutions become reachable, optimists can find them faster than pessimists.

I included links to a number of emerging solutions. To live to that spirit, this is an ‘updatable’ post to follow up on these efforts and additional alternatives that may emerge.

To be clear. The point is not that any link in the original or this article is THE solution to COVID-19. Nobody knows that. There are many alternatives currently in development, and it may well be that the real solution does not yet exist. However, as the original post argued, optimism is key to identifying solutions amidst severe uncertainty and, therefore, pre-requisite to public policy that solves problems sooner rather than later. It is not true that if a country/company/actors runs with three or four options, that country will surely find a solution. However, if many do, one is bound to choose the right path and then everyone would benefit.

Plasma treatment

  • Initial results (link).
  • More early results (link).
  • More early results (link).
  • Possibility of multiple types of plasma-based treatment including serum generated by animals (horses in particular) after being injected with non-infected SARS-CoV-2 (& Costa Rican contribution) (link).
  • Large scale testing kicks-off in the US (link).
  • Review summarising findings by May 2020 suggesting promise (link).
  • Convalescent plasma trials underway in a number of countries (link, link, link).
  • The serum generated from horses (some bullet points above) is many times more potent than plasma generated by humans, and both Argentina and Costa Rica are close to entering clinical trials (link, link).


  • Impressive success ratio in an initial small sample (link).
  • Success in a separate case (link).
  • 28-day follow up of eight cases show an 87.5% survival rate and a 62.5% discharge rate (link).
  • FDA approves testing at a larger scale (link, link).


  • Results of compassionate treatment not conclusive but show hope (link).
  • Remdesivir gets COVID-19 patients off ventilators in a day (link).
  • Trials with monkeys show promise, more trials underway (link).
  • Tests show remdesivir linked to faster recovery and, maybe (although inconclusively), a marginal improvement in mortality rates (link, link).
  • Gilead donates entire stockpile of remdesivir to US government (link).


  • GS-441524: Remdesivir’s older brother, which showed higher effectiveness in animals (link).
  • VHH antibodies: while there are no trials yet, various efforts around the world have been able to synthesise antibodies that neutralise the virus in a lab environment (link, link).

Additional notes

Above, I am keeping an eye on some of the many emerging hopes rather than, per se, giving a comprehensive list of all efforts that may lead to a solution. The point of this post, after all, is to illustrate what it means to look forward with optimism rather than, per se, list all potential alternatives.

For a more comprehensive listing of vaccines and treatment efforts across the world visit the COVID-19 Vaccine & Therapeutics Tracker or BioWorld’s listing of COVID-19 biopharma products in development.

Cover photo by Vek Labs on Unsplash.

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