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2.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(2): e27704, 2022 02 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690536

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased online purchases and heightened interest in existing treatments. Dexamethasone, hydroxychloroquine, and lopinavir-ritonavir have been touted as potential COVID-19 treatments. OBJECTIVE: This study assessed the availability of 3 potential COVID-19 treatments online and evaluated the safety and marketing characteristics of websites selling these products during the pandemic. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the months of June 2020 to August 2020, by searching the first 100 results on Google, Bing, and Yahoo! mimicking a US consumer. Unique websites were included if they sold targeted medicines, were in English, offered US shipping, and were free to access. Identified online pharmacies were categorized as rogue, unclassified, or legitimate based on LegitScript classifications. Patient safety characteristics, marketing techniques, price, legitimacy, IP addresses, and COVID-19 mentions were recorded. RESULTS: We found 117 websites: 30 selling dexamethasone (19/30, 63% rogue), 39 selling hydroxychloroquine (22/39, 56% rogue), and 48 selling lopinavir-ritonavir (33/48, 69% rogue). This included 89 unique online pharmacies: 70% were rogue (n=62), 22% were unapproved (n=20), and 8% were considered legitimate (n=7). Prescriptions were not required among 100% (19/19), 61% (20/33), and 50% (11/22) of rogue websites selling dexamethasone, lopinavir-ritonavir, and hydroxychloroquine, respectively. Overall, only 32% (24/74) of rogue websites required prescriptions to buy these medications compared with 94% (31/33) of unapproved and 100% (10/10) of legitimate websites (P<.001). Rogue sites rarely offered pharmacist counseling (1/33, 3% for lopinavir-ritonavir to 2/22, 9% for hydroxychloroquine). Drug warnings were unavailable in 86% (6/7) of unapproved dexamethasone sites. It was difficult to distinguish between rogue, unapproved, and legitimate online pharmacies solely based on website marketing characteristics. Illegitimate pharmacies were more likely to offer bulk discounts and claim price discounts, yet dexamethasone and hydroxychloroquine were more expensive online. An inexpensive generic version of lopinavir-ritonavir that is not authorized for use in the United States was available online offering US shipping. Some websites claimed hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir-ritonavir were effective COVID-19 treatments despite lack of scientific evidence. In comparing IP addresses to locations claimed on the websites, only 8.5% (7/82) matched their claimed locations. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of safety measures by illegitimate online pharmacies endanger patients, facilitating access to medications without appropriate oversight by health care providers to monitor clinical response, drug interactions, and adverse effects. We demonstrated how easy it is to go online to buy medications that are touted to treat COVID-19 even when current clinical evidence does not support their use for self-treatment. We documented that illegitimate online pharmacies sidestep prescription requirements, skirt pharmacist counseling, and make false claims regarding efficacy for COVID-19 treatment. Health care professionals must urgently educate the public of the dangers of purchasing drugs from illegitimate websites and highlight the importance of seeking treatment through authentic avenues of care.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Commerce , Drug and Narcotic Control , Internet , Antiviral Agents/economics , Antiviral Agents/standards , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Marketing , Pandemics , Prescriptions , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
3.
J Med Internet Res ; 24(2): e27704, 2022 02 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1480493

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased online purchases and heightened interest in existing treatments. Dexamethasone, hydroxychloroquine, and lopinavir-ritonavir have been touted as potential COVID-19 treatments. OBJECTIVE: This study assessed the availability of 3 potential COVID-19 treatments online and evaluated the safety and marketing characteristics of websites selling these products during the pandemic. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the months of June 2020 to August 2020, by searching the first 100 results on Google, Bing, and Yahoo! mimicking a US consumer. Unique websites were included if they sold targeted medicines, were in English, offered US shipping, and were free to access. Identified online pharmacies were categorized as rogue, unclassified, or legitimate based on LegitScript classifications. Patient safety characteristics, marketing techniques, price, legitimacy, IP addresses, and COVID-19 mentions were recorded. RESULTS: We found 117 websites: 30 selling dexamethasone (19/30, 63% rogue), 39 selling hydroxychloroquine (22/39, 56% rogue), and 48 selling lopinavir-ritonavir (33/48, 69% rogue). This included 89 unique online pharmacies: 70% were rogue (n=62), 22% were unapproved (n=20), and 8% were considered legitimate (n=7). Prescriptions were not required among 100% (19/19), 61% (20/33), and 50% (11/22) of rogue websites selling dexamethasone, lopinavir-ritonavir, and hydroxychloroquine, respectively. Overall, only 32% (24/74) of rogue websites required prescriptions to buy these medications compared with 94% (31/33) of unapproved and 100% (10/10) of legitimate websites (P<.001). Rogue sites rarely offered pharmacist counseling (1/33, 3% for lopinavir-ritonavir to 2/22, 9% for hydroxychloroquine). Drug warnings were unavailable in 86% (6/7) of unapproved dexamethasone sites. It was difficult to distinguish between rogue, unapproved, and legitimate online pharmacies solely based on website marketing characteristics. Illegitimate pharmacies were more likely to offer bulk discounts and claim price discounts, yet dexamethasone and hydroxychloroquine were more expensive online. An inexpensive generic version of lopinavir-ritonavir that is not authorized for use in the United States was available online offering US shipping. Some websites claimed hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir-ritonavir were effective COVID-19 treatments despite lack of scientific evidence. In comparing IP addresses to locations claimed on the websites, only 8.5% (7/82) matched their claimed locations. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of safety measures by illegitimate online pharmacies endanger patients, facilitating access to medications without appropriate oversight by health care providers to monitor clinical response, drug interactions, and adverse effects. We demonstrated how easy it is to go online to buy medications that are touted to treat COVID-19 even when current clinical evidence does not support their use for self-treatment. We documented that illegitimate online pharmacies sidestep prescription requirements, skirt pharmacist counseling, and make false claims regarding efficacy for COVID-19 treatment. Health care professionals must urgently educate the public of the dangers of purchasing drugs from illegitimate websites and highlight the importance of seeking treatment through authentic avenues of care.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Commerce , Drug and Narcotic Control , Internet , Antiviral Agents/economics , Antiviral Agents/standards , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Marketing , Pandemics , Prescriptions , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
5.
Pharmaceut Med ; 35(4): 203-213, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1375861

ABSTRACT

The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) originated in 2004 because of the need for emergency medical countermeasures (MCMs) against potential bioterrorist attacks. The EUA also proved useful in dealing with subsequent pandemics and has emerged as a critical regulatory pathway for therapeutics and vaccines throughout the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. With the EUA process in the USA, we witnessed emergency authorizations, their expansions, as well as withdrawal of previously authorized products, which exemplifies the dynamic nature of scientific review of EUA products. EUAs proved vital for the first group of COVID-19 vaccines, including the temporary pause of one vaccine while emergency safety issues were evaluated. Although this review on the EUA is primarily focused on the USA, distinctions were made with other jurisdictions such as Europe and Canada with respect to the emergency authorizations of the vaccines. Finally, we discuss some important differences following EUA and formal new drug/vaccine application (NDA/BLA) approvals.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/standards , COVID-19 Vaccines/standards , COVID-19/prevention & control , Drug Approval/legislation & jurisprudence , Emergencies/history , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/adverse effects , Bioterrorism/history , Bioterrorism/prevention & control , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Canada/epidemiology , Civil Defense/history , Drug Approval/history , Emergencies/epidemiology , Europe/epidemiology , History, 21st Century , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , United States/epidemiology
6.
Anal Bioanal Chem ; 413(23): 5811-5820, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1321733

ABSTRACT

Remdesivir is a nucleotide analog prodrug that has received much attention since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019. GS-441524 (Nuc) is the active metabolite of remdesivir and plays a pivotal role in the clinical treatment of COVID-19. Here, a robust HPLC-MS/MS method was developed to determine Nuc concentrations in rat plasma samples after a one-step protein precipitation process. Chromatographic separation was accomplished on Waters XBrige C18 column (50 × 2.1 mm, 3.5 µm) under gradient elution conditions. Multiple reaction monitoring transitions in electrospray positive ion mode were m/z 292.2 → 163.2 for Nuc and 237.1 → 194.1 for the internal standard (carbamazepine). The quantitative analysis method was fully validated in line with the United States Food and Drug Administration guidelines. The linearity, accuracy and precision, matrix effect, recovery, and stability results met the requirements of the guidelines. Uncertainty of measurement and incurred sample reanalysis were analyzed to further ensure the robustness and reproducibility of the method. This optimized method was successfully applied in a rat pharmacokinetics study of remdesivir (intravenously administration, 5 mg kg-1). The method can act as a basis for further pharmacokinetic and clinical efficacy investigations in patients with COVID-19. Graphical abstract.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/blood , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid/methods , Tandem Mass Spectrometry/methods , Adenosine/blood , Adenosine/pharmacokinetics , Adenosine/standards , Adenosine Monophosphate/blood , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacokinetics , Adenosine Monophosphate/standards , Alanine/blood , Alanine/pharmacokinetics , Alanine/standards , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/standards , Limit of Detection , Male , Quality Control , Rats , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , Reference Standards , Reproducibility of Results
7.
Viruses ; 13(7)2021 07 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1302500

ABSTRACT

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed a significant strain on hepatitis programs and interventions (screening, diagnosis, and treatment) at a critical moment in the context of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination. We sought to quantify changes in Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) utilization among different countries during the pandemic. We conducted a cross-sectional time series analysis between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2020, using the IQVIA MIDAS database, which contains DAA purchase data for 54 countries. We examined the percent change in DAA units dispensed (e.g., pills and capsules) from March to August 2019 to the same period of time in 2020 across the 54 countries. Interrupted time-series analysis was used to examine the impact of COVID-19 on monthly rates of DAA utilization across each of the major developed economies (G7 nations). Overall, 46 of 54 (85%) jurisdictions experienced a decline in DAA utilization during the pandemic, with an average of -43% (range: -1% in Finland to -93% in Brazil). All high HCV prevalence (HCV prevalence > 2%) countries in the database experienced a decline in utilization, average -49% (range: -17% in Kazakhstan to -90% in Egypt). Across the G7 nations, we also observed a decreased trend in DAA utilization during the early months of the pandemic, with significant declines (p < 0.01) for Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The global response to COVID-19 led to a large decrease in DAA utilization globally. Deliberate efforts to counteract the impact of COVID-19 on treatment delivery are needed to support the goal of HCV elimination.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , Antiviral Agents/standards , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Canada/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Egypt/epidemiology , Finland/epidemiology , Germany/epidemiology , Hepacivirus/isolation & purification , Hepatitis C , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Hepatitis C, Chronic/epidemiology , Humans , Kazakhstan/epidemiology , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , United Kingdom/epidemiology , United States
8.
J Hosp Infect ; 110: 103-107, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198887

ABSTRACT

It can be a diagnostic challenge to identify patients with coronavirus disease 2019 in whom antibiotics can be safely withheld. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a guideline implemented at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that recommends withholding antibiotics in patients with low serum procalcitonin (PCT), defined as ≤0.25 ng/mL. Results showed reduced antibiotic consumption in patients with PCT ≤0.25 ng/mL with no increase in mortality, alongside a reduction in subsequent carbapenem prescriptions during admission. The results support the effectiveness of this guideline, and further research is recommended to identify the optimal cut-off value for PCT in this setting.


Subject(s)
Anti-Bacterial Agents/standards , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/standards , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Bacterial Infections/drug therapy , COVID-19/drug therapy , Procalcitonin/blood , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antimicrobial Stewardship/methods , Bacterial Infections/blood , Biomarkers/blood , Cohort Studies , Coinfection/blood , Coinfection/drug therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Retrospective Studies , Young Adult
9.
Viruses ; 13(4)2021 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1154527

ABSTRACT

The disinfection of surfaces in medical facilities is an important element of infection control, including the control of viral infections such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Preparations used for surface disinfection are typically characterized via their activity against test organisms (i.e., viruses, bacteria and fungi) in the laboratory. Typically, these methods use a suspension of the test organism to assess the bactericidal, fungicidal or virucidal activity of a given preparation. However, such suspension methods do not fully imitate real-life conditions. To address this issue, carrier methods have been developed, in which microorganisms are applied to the surface of a carrier (e.g., stainless steel, glass and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)) and then dried. Such methods more accurately reflect the applications in real-life clinical practice. This article summarizes the available methods for assessing the virucidal activity of chemical disinfectants for use in medical facilities based on the current European standards, including the activity against coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Disinfectants/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Antiviral Agents/standards , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Disinfectants/standards , Europe , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development
11.
Antiviral Res ; 177: 104762, 2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-4426

ABSTRACT

Recent publications have brought attention to the possible benefit of chloroquine, a broadly used antimalarial drug, in the treatment of patients infected by the novel emerged coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The scientific community should consider this information in light of previous experiments with chloroquine in the field of antiviral research.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Chloroquine/therapeutic use , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Antiviral Agents/adverse effects , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/standards , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , COVID-19 , China , Chloroquine/adverse effects , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Chloroquine/standards , Clinical Trials as Topic/standards , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/adverse effects , Hydroxychloroquine/pharmacology , Hydroxychloroquine/standards , Hydroxychloroquine/therapeutic use , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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