NIH treatment guidelines for COVID-19 developed by expert panel

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Treatment guidelines for coronavirus have been developed by a panel of U.S. physicians, statisticians and other experts, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced.

According to an NIH press release on Tuesday, the guidelines consider two major categories of therapies currently in use for COVID-19: antivirals, which may target the coronavirus directly, and so-called host modifiers and immune-based therapies, which may influence the immune response to the virus or target the virus.

The guidelines are posted online and will be updated often as new data are published in peer-reviewed scientific literature and other information emerges.

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In this file photo, a nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at a hospital in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In this file photo, a nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at a hospital in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The document provides background information about each type of therapy -- such as clinical data about its use, ongoing clinical trials and known interactions with other drugs -- that forms the basis for the recommendation.

Researchers also explore what best practices should be 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, versus inpatients with severe illness or critical disease.

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Another section of the guidelines addresses a range of considerations for clinicians taking care of the most critically ill patients. This includes multiple protocols for patients needing critical care, including infection control procedures and drug therapy.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, COVID-19 has infected more than 810,000 people in the United States and killed at least 43,630. More than 4 million tests have been conducted in the U.S., but experts believe that number must be increased in order to reopen society. Worldwide, there are at least 2.5 million cases of the disease.