The Briefing provides an at-a-glance view of some important developments in the information universe surrounding COVID-19. The views presented here are solely those of ECRI Horizon Scanning and have not been vetted by other stakeholders.

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Every good look forward starts with a good look back. And people are looking forward, just as horizon scanning does, as the nation reflects on the 1-year anniversary of the pandemic.

Looking back at the responses of governments around the world might clarify which public health policies worked best and help create lists of threats—lists once familiar only to infectious disease experts and horizon scanners—that could become part of strategic planning going forward. A nimbler approach to the development of “broadly active family-specific and cross-family therapeutics” might enable us to not just control but treat the next threat.

The emerging aspects of long COVID are highlighting a gap in the US health system’s ability to address and understand post-viral syndromes as a whole. Patients and advocates are raising concerns about an impending health crisis and calling for new ways to both measure and treat lingering signs and symptoms. Data from electronic health records might create a predictive model for who might develop long COVID. CytoDyn, Inc (Vancouver, Washington) has announced a phase 2 trial of leronlimab-PRO 140 (Vyrologix) to treat long COVID.

Innovation continues as vaccines roll out (see Topics to Watch) and as signs of effectiveness roll in, even among the most vulnerable. However, as the rates of serious hospitalization and death fall, a pressing need remains for effective treatment of those with mild to moderate COVID-19 (see Topics to Watch).

Drive-through COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

At a Glance

  • Drive-through vaccination sites could accelerate the effort to vaccinate all eligible or interested persons, now that three COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed across the country after receiving Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • This model was used in Louisville, Kentucky, during the 2009 swine flu outbreak to deliver about 19 000 vaccine doses in 1.5 days.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published considerations for planning drive-through clinics for routine vaccinations, which might also be useful for distributing COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Several states are building drive-through vaccine clinics, including a site in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with a 10-lane carport, as well as in Texas, which has established multiple mass drive-through clinics.

Nitazoxanide (NT-300) to Treat Mild to Moderate COVID-19

At a Glance

  • Nitazoxanide, an FDA-approved oral broad-spectrum antiparasitic drug, is being developed as the extended-release form NT-300 to treat mild to moderate COVID-19.
  • Laboratory cell cultures have shown that nitazoxanide exhibits broad-spectrum activity against multiple respiratory viruses, and the drug purportedly suppresses the production of proinflammatory cytokines thought to contribute to severe COVID-19 and poor outcomes.
  • A phase 3, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 1092 participants with mild or moderate COVID-19 had an estimated study completion in February 2021.
  • Based on available clinical trial dosing and pricing information for 500-mg tablets, we estimate a 5-day course of nitazoxanide to treat COVID-19 to cost less than $1300.

Commentary in this COVID-19 Scan reflects preliminary views of ECRI Horizon Scanning and internal ECRI stakeholders.
The information contained in this document has not been vetted by other stakeholders.

We welcome your comments on this Scan. Send them by email to [email protected].

Posted: March 25, 2021

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