Doctors at Stanford Medicine have launched a clinical trial to test a new treatment for recently diagnosed COVID-19 patients. The drug, called interferon-lambda, has been previously studied in hepatitis patients, and can be given as a single dose injection in an outpatient setting.
Dr. Upinder Singh, professor of infectious diseases at Stanford and the study's co-lead, says while most of the experimental treatments for COVID-19 have focused on hospitalized patients with severe cases, it’s also important to design treatments for people with more mild cases.
“During the time that they’re sick, they have virus in their nose and they're shedding virus into their environment,” Singh said. “And so they are a really good conduit to spreading infection.”
Roughly 80 percent of people diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 have mild to moderate symptoms, she says.
Singh says developing treatments for recently diagnosed patients with less severe cases could help contain the virus as the country continues to loosen stay-at-home orders.