Ever since the coronavirus outbreak made its way around the globe, pharmaceutical companies are engaged with the development of possible cures or vaccines. Until it becomes available, government and public health officials urge people to follow safety measures to slow down transmission. So far, many countries are reporting success as they are flattening the curve on their respective ends. Meanwhile, it was noted that the New York healthcare facility has been covertly testing a specific medication for heartburn to treat COVID-19.

This is just one of the many clinical trials for potential treatments of SARS-CoV-2. Among the drugs that have been highlighted in the news, this is by far the most fascinating. The most recent ones included Favipiravir, Chloroquine, and Hydroxychloroquine. The first one was allegedly used by Chinese doctors, while the latter two have been tested in France. There is currently no official clinical evidence that supports the claims of effectiveness against the virus.

Meanwhile, according to a representative from Northwell Health in New York, COVID-19 patients were enrolled in a medical study to test how well they respond to one of the compounds in Pepcid. This update comes from Science Magazine and lists Famotidine as a drug for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. The dosage that is being given intravenously is purportedly nine times that of what is usually prescribed for heartburn.

It is apparently just one of the many ongoing clinical trials conducted by the 23-hospital group. The others were revealed to be Remdesivir from Gilead Science and Sarilumab from Regeneron. As for the reason why the Famotidine tests were kept under wraps was to ensure there were enough supplies for the researchers. A total of 187 COVID-19 patients are involved in the trial and many of which are in critical condition with some already hooked up to ventilators.

British govt under pressure to relax lockdown
The government has been under pressure to relax social distancing rules. Photo: AFP / Paul ELLIS

Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Michael Callahan was given the credit for the clinical study with Famotidine. His research along with Chinese healthcare specialists supposedly stumbled upon its possible benefits after analysing data from heartburn patients who were infected by the coronavirus. It appears that the drug will hopefully inhibit replication of the pathogen.