DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, putting a strain on the healthcare system, medical experts are working to prevent more people from getting infected. Some of the treatments they’re using have been fully approved by the FDA or have been granted emergency authorization, while others are still being tested, or have been discouraged by medical professionals.
Here is a list of common treatments for COVID-19, their implications and recommendations by public health officials:
Treatments with Full FDA approval
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine: While an emergency use authorization was initially granted for the two-dose vaccine, full FDA approval was granted to the company on August 23. With full approval, the FDA said Americans can be less hesitant about the safety of the shots.
“While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D.
Booster shots for some recipients of the Pfizer vaccine have already been approved.
Authorized for emergency use
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: The two-dose Moderna vaccine has not yet been granted full FDA approval, however, Americans 18 years and older can still get the vaccine under its emergency use authorization. The CDC said of the three vaccines available, the Moderna vaccine has proven to be the most effective over the long term. Booster shots for the Moderna vaccine are currently pending approval.
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: While the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved only for emergency use, the company is expected to apply for FDA authorization of its COVID-19 booster shot this week, the New York Times reported on Monday The company reported that, “The largest real-world evidence study for a COVID-19 vaccine reported to date in the U.S. demonstrated stable vaccine effectiveness of 79 percent for COVID-19-related infections and 81 percent for COVID-19-related hospitalizations.”
The company said adding a booster shot at two months provided 94 percent protection against COVID-19.
Pfizer COVID-19 prevention pill: In addition to its COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer is now working to develop a pill that would prevent people from getting COVID if they come in close contact with a person who has contracted the virus. The treatment would involve the new pill being used in combination with a low dose of the HIV drug ritonavir, as it is thought to help “slow the breakdown of the potential treatment so it remains active longer to help fight the virus.”
Merck & Co. experimental pill: Merck & Co. said it is in the process of developing an experimental drug that will help reduce hospitalizations and deaths by half in people that have been infected with COVID-19. The company plans to request FDA authorization of the drug in the near future. If approved, it would be the first pill available to treat COVID-19.
Treatment not recommended by medical professionals
Ivermectin: Use of ivermectin is not recommended by the the FDA to be used as a treatment for COVID-19. The organization said, “The FDA has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating COVID-19 in humans or animals. Ivermectin is approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms and head lice and skin conditions like rosacea.”
They also said there is not research to prove that the drug is effective at treating COVID-19, and that taking too much of the medication can be dangerous.
However, the Duke Clinical Research Institute is conducting a clinical study to determine its effectiveness, along with two other drugs: Fluticasone, also known as Flonase, which is generally used to treat asthma, and Fluvoxamine, an antidepressant given in pill form. To learn more about the study, click here.