Research into potential treatments for coronavirus

March 2020 University Medical Center in Hamburg uses BINDER chambers for research

Coronavirus pandemic: Clinical studies in Hamburg aided by BINDER chambers


The race is on to develop a vaccine against coronavirus. “Despite all we’re doing, however, it’s too late for a vaccine that will treat the current wave of coronavirus infections,” said Marylyn Addo on Deutschlandfunk radio station, speaking in her role as Head of Infectiology at the University Medical Center in Hamburg’s Eppendorf district. The scientist is conducting research into a potential vaccine with the help of BINDER chambers, as well as carrying out clinical trials of drugs that are currently being used to treat severe cases of coronavirus.


Until a vaccine is found, doctors can only treat the symptoms of the disease. This involves administering oxygen, fluids, and antibiotics, the latter of which are given to treat secondary bacterial infections. In the most severe cases, when doctors are fighting to save a patient’s life, they sometimes use drugs that were developed for other diseases. However, it is not known exactly how beneficial these medicines are, which is why clinical trials are being carried out locations including Hamburg.


Two compounds in particular are providing a ray of hope. The first is Kaletra, which was previously used in the SARS epidemic in 2002/2003. This drug is approved as a treatment for HIV in the form of an oral solution or tablets, and off-label use is permitted for individual cases.


The second drug that is being used to combat COVID-19 is Remdesivir. This medication was originally developed as a treatment for Ebola, but was not approved because its effectiveness could not be demonstrated. Initial findings are indicating that the situation may be different with coronavirus. Because the medicine has not been approved, however, an application must be submitted to the manufacturing company and the regulatory body of the relevant federal state every time it is to be administered in Germany. Nevertheless, it is still giving some cause for hope.


A third drug called Chloroquine, which is approved in China for the treatment of malaria and rheumatism, is also being tested in BINDER chambers – and American president Donald Trump has already labeled it a “gift from God”. However, clinical trials are needed before its effectiveness can be confirmed. Here, too, BINDER chambers will help scientists to find answers as soon as possible.