Emerging pharmacotherapy for COVID-19

Broadly speaking, pharmacological treatments for COVID-19 can be divided into those acting on upstream pathways early on in the disease process via suppression of viral replication or by inhibiting cell entry, and those acting on downstream pathways later on via selective attenuation of the adaptive immune cytokine-mediated inflammatory response. The antiviral drug remdesivir has been shown to shorten duration of disease while interferon beta-1b may speed up viral clearance. The results with hydroxychloroquine have thus far been rather disappointing.

The demise of bloodletting

Bloodletting was a practice favoured by doctors and barber-surgeons
for many centuries, and is now, perhaps surprisingly, still employed for a few
specific indications. The effectiveness of bloodletting for treating diseases such as pneumonia was convincingly challenged in the mid-nineteenth century, but medical conservatism ensured the practice continued well into the twentieth century. As late as 1942, a famous medical textbook considered bloodletting appropriate treatment for pneumonia.

KEYWORDS Bloodletting, lancets, pneumonia, leeches, transfusion