Remdesivir, Favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, Dexamethasone, Coronil and Swasari A Critical Review

Medicines for COVID-19

Presently, the key medicines for COVID-19 viruses are remdesivir, favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, dexamethasone, coronil and swasar. The total number of coronavirus cases across the world has now crossed the 8-million mark. Till now, there is no decisive medicine to handle the COVID challenge.

Meanwhile, major research institutes and pharmaceutical companies are rushing to find a successful vaccine. They are conducting many double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials across the world. Here, we reviewed the status of effectiveness of these medicines against the COVID-19.  

Medicines for COVID-19

Key COVID-19 Medicines

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new Coronavirus. However,  many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatments are based on the patient’s clinical condition. COVID treatment must be done in a clinical environment under careful monitoring by trained medical professionals.  In the present context, the key candidate medicines for the treatment are remdesivir, favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, dexamethasone, and the Ayurveda  medicine coronil and swasar. 


It was originally developed by US biotechnology company Gilead Sciences to treat Ebola. It inhibits an enzyme called ‘RNA-dependent RNA polymerase’ that viruses need to replicate.

According to one research, published in the famous medical journal, The Lancet, Remdesivir in adults with severe COVID-19: adverse events were reported in 102 (66%) of 155 remdesivir recipients versus 50 (64%) of 78 placebo recipients. Remdesivir was stopped early because of adverse events in 18 (12%) patients versus four (5%) patients who stopped placebo early.

According to the recent research article, Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report , the Remdesivir clinical trial results mentioned that from the 1059 patients (538 assigned to remdesivir and 521 to placebo) with data shows that those who received remdesivir had a recovery time of 11 days, as compared with 15 days in those who received normal placebo. The trial was mainly funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), USA.


Favipiravir is an anti-viral agent that selectively and potently inhibits the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of RNA viruses. It is an anti-influenza drug. Favipiravir was initially developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical in 2014 in Japan for the treatment of avian influenza. Favipiravir has been used in the treatment of infectious diseases caused by RNA viruses such as influenza, Ebola, and norovirus.

In a recent, Favipiravir versus Arbidol for COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial results are as follows: 240 enrolled COVID-19 patients underwent randomization; 120 patients were assigned to receive Favipiravir, and 120 to receive Arbidol. Clinical recovery rate of Day 7 does not significantly differ between Favipiravir group and Arbidol group. Favipiravir led to shorter latencies to relief for both pyrexia and cough. 


In a key study, Observational Study of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19 published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at data on nearly 1,400 patients treated for COVID-19 at a large hospital in New York City, more than half of whom received hydroxychloroquine. Analysis of patient outcomes showed that the risk of intubation or death was not significantly higher or lower among patients who received the drug than among those who did not.


A large trial conducted by Oxford University showed that dexamethasone, a  humble, generic, low-cost corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth.

A total of 2,104 patients were randomised to receive dexamethasone 6 mg once per day for ten days and were compared with 4,321 patients randomised to usual care alone. The study data showed that mortality rate in patients who required ventilation fell from 41 percent to 28 percent. In intermediate patients who required oxygen support only, the deaths were reduced by a fifth: while 25 percent oxygen support patients died on standard care, 20 percent died when on dexamethasone.

Coronil and Swasari 

According to the recent news, Ayurveda medicines ‘Coronil tablet’, ‘Swasari Vati’ and ‘Anu Taila’ prepared by the combined efforts of Patanjali Research Centre and NIMS are effective Ayurveda for the treatment of COVID-19. The medicines, named “Coronil and Swasari” were developed based on research and trials on 280 patients across the country, said Patanjali’s founder, Yoga teacher Ramdev. There is no scientific evidence of any alternative cure for COVID-19, even as vaccines are being tested by many countries.

Yoga teacher and founder of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, Swami Ramdev said, “With the help of NIMS, Jaipur we conducted the clinical control study on 95 patients. The biggest thing which came out of this is that within three days 69 per cent patients recovered and became negative from positive (cases) and within seven days 100 per cent of them became negative.” 

However, Govt tells Patanjali to stop advertising COVID-19, and directed the company to stop advertising the ‘medicines’ till the issue is examined.


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Ray, Amit. (2020). Remdesivir, Favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, Dexamethasone, Coronil and Swasari A Critical Review. [online] 2020 Jun 24 Available at: [Accessed 25-May-2024]


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Ray, Amit. Remdesivir, Favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, Dexamethasone, Coronil and Swasari A Critical Review. 2020 Jun 24, Accessed 25-May-2024


Ray, Amit. "Remdesivir, Favipiravir, hydroxychloroquine, Dexamethasone, Coronil and Swasari A Critical Review." Accessed 25-May-2024