How can we prevent hospitalization until a vaccine is developed?
As the world grapples with the lasting impact of COVID-19, many look to a vaccine as our best hope for recovery. But a vaccine could take a year or more to develop and mass produce. And currently, clinicians only give COVID-19 treatments to patients who are hospitalized and very ill. There are a number of existing drugs which, if given early, have the potential to stop the virus from replicating before it causes severe symptoms, which saves lives and reduces the toll on our healthcare system — and our communities. This is the most urgent and important research we can do today. And until now, nobody was doing it.
The COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund (CETF) was created to ensure rapid and successful completion of outpatient clinical trials for effective early treatments for COVID-19, using existing drugs. It’s a bold new approach that offers the shortest path to saving lives. We know that viruses are best treated with antivirals soon after infection. There are existing drugs, including antivirals, that experts believe have the potential to treat COVID-19. These medicines are an untapped resource that could help millions, keeping people out of hospitals and saving lives.
The CETF ensures that outpatient trials for these top drugs are successful. We already have six approved clinical trials underway, with dozens more under review. Many only need modest funding to begin. Only the most well-designed trials with the most potential are funded, ensuring independent, objective results. CETF goes well beyond just funding, to support study design, drug procurement and even trial recruitment. Donors see an immediate impact of their investment in a very short timeframe.
We are exceptionally nimble in this crisis, funding worthy projects rapidly – within as little as three days – without the customary bureaucratic delays. But we are also very strict in our grantmaking. If our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) believes there are faults with the trial design, we won’t approve the grant.
CETF is finding the quickest, safest and lowest cost ways to repurpose drugs to dramatically reduce hospitalization rates. Once we solve that problem, the world can safely reopen without the fear of more illnesses and deaths.