For patients with COVID-19, critical care specialists caution against the use of premature novel therapies in lieu of traditional critical care principles, according to a published letter in American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology

Researchers, including Benjamin Singer, MD, assistant professor of Medicine and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, write that “the intensive care unit is already optimized for the care of COVID-19 patients and that departures from standard of care require evidence.” 

As hospital staff mobilize to meet the growing demand of COVID-19 patients, some clinicians are making note of a pattern that has emerged where proven interventions are neglected or even rejected. 

Dr Singer argues that this is not the time to abandon reason. Instead, he calls for “a rational approach to translating science to the bedside as we care for patients with severe COVID-19. We want to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic knowing what works and what doesn’t work for severe viral pneumonia patients.” 

He added that physicians continuously learn from their patients by making observations and so far what they’ve learned is that the most effective treatment for COVID-19 patients is supportive therapy. Until there are clinical trials that offer clear direction on a different treatment approach, state-of-the-art supportive care is the best option. 

“Off-label and off-study use of novel or repurposed therapeutics prevents potential benefits or harms from being clearly defined and puts some of our most vulnerable people at risk,” said Dr Singer.