NIH releases treatment guidelines for COVID-19

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A panel of physicians, statisticians, and other experts have developed treatment guidelines for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to an announcement made by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) earlier this week.

The guidelines are intended for healthcare providers and based on published and preliminary data and the clinical expertise of the panelists, many of whom are frontline clinicians caring for COVID-19 patients. The guidelines will be updated as new data are published in peer-reviewed scientific literature and other authoritative information emerges.

According to the NIH, the guidelines consider two broad categories of therapies currently in use by healthcare providers, antivirals, which may target the coronavirus directly, and host modifiers and immune-based therapies, which may influence the immune response to the virus or target the virus. The document provides background information about each agent, including clinical data about its use, ongoing clinical trials, and known interactions with other drugs, and makes recommendations.

The treatment guidelines also describe the evaluation and stratification of patients based on their risk of infection and severity of illness. The experts address best practices for managing patients at different stages of infection, for example outpatients who are either asymptomatic or who have mild to moderate symptoms and are self-isolating and inpatients with severe illness or critical disease. Special considerations for pregnant women and for children who are infected are also included.

A section of the guidelines addresses a range of considerations for clinicians caring for critically ill hospitalized patients. This section includes multiple recommendations for patients needing critical care, including infection control procedures, hemodynamic and ventilatory support, and drug therapy.

Finally, the guidelines include recommendations concerning the use of concomitant medications. These include statins; corticosteroids; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; and drugs used to control hypertension, including ACE inhibitors.

Editor’s note: Click here for more information and ongoing COVID-19 updates for integrative healthcare professionals.