Last year, a team of 43 clinicians and researchers from 14 nations drafted the international guidelines for treating patients seriously ill with COVID-19. Those guidelines were recently updated. One of the team members may be found at the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Dr. Manoj Mammen, an associate professor of medicine at the university, told WBFO that the guidelines were updated using the knowledge acquired over the past several months, while adding that more remains to be determined.
"Going forward, we would have to look at using the best available evidence and data and marshal all our resources to reduce any further deaths, and to prevent any more spread of the pandemic," he said. "I think there's definitely political will for it. We just have to be more vigilant in the next several months.”
So what was learned?
The panel, which put together the first update to Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines on the Management of Adults With Coronavirus Disease 2019, added three new recommendations while updating six previous ones. Remdisivir, for example, is recommended for non-ventilated patients with severe symptoms, while the updated report recommends against starting the drug in patients with critical COVID-19 outside clinical trials.
Dexamethasone, according to the updated guidelines, has been found to lower mortality rates and improve patient outcomes. The panel has also reported that hydroxychloroquine, a treatment touted last year by former President Donald Trump, offers no benefit to patients and in some cases may raise the risk of harm.
As for future guidelines?
"I think, and I and other experts agree, that the treatment of COVID-19 will be part and parcel of the typical ICU care of a patient," Mammen told WBFO. "So we will have likely lower amounts of patients with COVID-19 in the hospitals in the ICU, but it will be something that will be incorporated into the usual practice of clinical medicine.”