1 Scopus citations


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created an emergency of epic proportions. While a vaccine may be forthcoming, this is not guaranteed, as discussed herein. The potential problems and ominous signs include (1) lung injury that developed in animals given an experimental vaccine for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-1; (2) a perversion of adaptive immune responses called antibody-dependent enhancement of infection that occurs in SARS-CoV-1 and that may occur in people vaccinated for COVID-19; (3) the frequent and recurrent infections that are caused by respiratory coronaviruses; and (4) the appearance of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 proteins, which raise the specter of vaccine escape mutants. Because success is uncertain, alternatives to vaccines need to be vigorously pursued during this critical moment in the pandemic. Alternatives include (1) engineered monoclonal antibodies that do not cause antibody-dependent enhancement; (2) cocktails of antiviral drugs and inhibitors of the cellular proteins required for SARS-CoV-2 replication; (3) interferons; and (4) anticoagulants, antioxidants, and immune modulators. To organize and coordinate the systematic investigation of existing therapies and new therapies (as they emerge), a Covid-19 clinical trials network is needed to provide (1) robust funding (on a par with vaccine funding) and administration; (2) an adaptive trial design committee to prioritize interventions and review results in real time; (3) a computer interface to facilitate patient enrollment, make data available to investigators, and present findings; (4) a practice guidelines study group; and (5) a mobile corps of COVID-19 experts available for rapid deployment, to assist local health care providers and enroll patients in trials as outbreaks occur. To combat the COVID-19 pandemic and future mass contagions, the network would be a cornerstone of a comprehensive infectious diseases research program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1864-1879
Number of pages16
JournalHepatology Communications
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


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