A call for earlier testing and treatment for COVID-19

Home testing
The Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network relies on at-home sample collection from a wide spectrum of Seattle-area residents. (Photo via SCAN / Seattle-King County Public Health)

Scientists from Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington say the search for COVID-19 treatments should widen its focus from hospitalized patients to people who are just starting to experience symptoms.

They’re calling for a shift in strategy in an article published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. “A golden opportunity to intervene early is being missed,” they write.

There’s already been some success in the hunt for drugs that can treat COVID-19. Preliminary results suggest that an experimental antiviral drug called remdesivir can reduce the recovery time for hospitalized patients, while a low-cost steroid known as dexamethasone can reduce the death rate among patients who experience respiratory distress.

But the researchers from the Seattle area, which was ground zero for America’s coronavirus outbreak, say the hunt should be expanded beyond hospitals.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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