Why new COVID-19 treatments have been so slow to develop
With Omicron looming and cases surging, researchers are racing to deliver new therapeutics. But nearly two years in, only a few have proven safe and effective.
Autopsies revealed how COVID-19 had ravaged the bodies of the first people to succumb to the virus in Bergamo, Italy: It ignited inflammation that damaged their vascular endothelial cells—the cells that cover the inner wall of blood vessels—causing blood clots that blocked their bodies’ veins and arteries and triggering multi-organ failure.
The findings gave Alessandro Rambaldi an idea. As the head of the department of oncology and hematology at Papa Giovanni XXIII Bergamo Hospital, Rambaldi had been studying a monoclonal antibody, a laboratory-made protein, as a potential treatment for damaged blood vessels that can be a deadly complication that occurs after patients receive bone marrow transplants. But as COVID-19 patients swarmed Italian hospitals in the earliest months