Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker

When the Covid-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, biomedical researchers scrambled to find treatments and drugs that could save the lives of people infected with the coronavirus. Some of these investigations have been clear successes, leading to millions of saved lives. Some are still ongoing, having yet to yield strong evidence of effectiveness. Other drugs and treatments have failed the test of science and have been abandoned. Meanwhile, fake claims and pseudoscience have promoted bogus cures.

Below is an updated list of 36 of the most talked-about drugs and treatments for Covid-19. For each entry, we review the evidence for or against its use, based on published scientific findings and consultation with experts.

This list provides a snapshot of the latest research on the coronavirus, but does not constitute medical endorsements. Always consult your doctor about treatments for Covid-19. You can also consult the Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines from the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization’s “living guideline” for Covid-19 drugs. Both of these documents are regularly updated based on new research.

For the current status of vaccine development, see our Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker.

WIDELY USED: These treatments have gained strong endorsements from medical organizations for Covid-19 patients or are already used widely by doctors and nurses to treat patients hospitalized for many diseases that affect the respiratory system.

NOT CURRENTLY AUTHORIZED: These treatments received emergency use authorizations to treat previous variants of the coronavirus, but are no longer authorized because of the prevalence of the Omicron variant.

PROMISING EVIDENCE: Early evidence from studies on patients suggests effectiveness, but more research is needed. This category includes treatments that have shown improvements in morbidity, mortality and recovery in at least one randomized controlled trial, in which some people get a treatment and others get a placebo.

TENTATIVE OR MIXED EVIDENCE: Some treatments show promising results in cells or animals, which need to be confirmed in people. Others have yielded encouraging results in retrospective studies in humans, which look at existing data rather than starting a new trial. Some treatments have produced different results in different experiments, raising the need for larger, more rigorously designed studies to clear up the confusion.

NOT PROMISING: Evidence gathered so far does not indicate that these treatments work against Covid-19.

PSEUDOSCIENCE OR FRAUD: These are not treatments that researchers have ever considered using for Covid-19. Experts have warned against trying them, because they do not help against the disease and can instead be dangerous. Some people have even been arrested for their false promises of a Covid-19 cure.

EVIDENCE IN CELLSANIMALS or HUMANS: These labels indicate where the evidence for a treatment comes from. Researchers often start out with experiments on cells and then move onto animals. Many of those animal experiments often fail; if they don’t, researchers may consider moving on to research on humans, such as retrospective studies or randomized clinical trials. In some cases, scientists are testing out treatments that were developed for other diseases, allowing them to move directly to human trials for Covid-19.