Reviewed by Carrie A. Horn, MD, Charles L. Daley, MD, Gwen A. Huitt, MD, MS, Shannon H. Kasperbauer, MD (March 04, 2020) and updated by Infection Preventionist Rosine Angbanzan, MPH (March 2021)
The COVID-19 virus causes the infectious disease COVID-19. Currently, there are a variety of medications being used and studied to treat people diagnosed with COVID-19.
Antibiotics will not help. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections; they do not work against viruses, including the COVID-19 virus or the infectious disease it causes, COVID-19. Taking an antibiotics will not prevent you from developing COVID-19.
Research is ongoing in search of a vaccine or medication to prevent and treat COVID-19. Learn about potential medications and treatments for coronavirus here and visit the CDC for the latest information.
COVID-19 Overview | COVID-19 Causes | COVID-19 Symptoms | COVID-19 Prevention | COVID-19 Diagnosis
For most of 2020, there was no specific treatment for coronavirus, however, there are a few that are in development. Learn more about Patient Care at National Jewish Health
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization Nov. 9, 2020 for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy bamlanivimab to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients not in the hospital or on oxygen.
On March 22, 2021, The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) issued an alert (based on FDA information March 18, 2021) stating that bamlanivimab alone is no longer recommended as a treatment for COVID-19 in Colorado due to the COVID-19 variant that is estimated at more than 20 percent of all Colorado cases. The combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab may continue to be prescribed for the B.1.351 and P.1 variants with close monitoring for resistance.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorization (EUA) on Feb. 9, 2021, for the combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab for treating mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients ages 12 and older weighing at least 88 pounds. This treatment is also approved for patients 65 and older who have certain chronic medical conditions including chronic kidney disease, diabetes, immunosupressive disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other respiratory diseases. Learn more from the FDA Fact Sheet.
Oct. 22, 2020, the FDA approved Veklury (remdesivir), an antiviral, to treat COVID-19 patients 12 years old and older as long as they weigh about 88 pounds. This drug slows the virus and reduces its ability to spread throughout the body.
Find more updates on investigational medications at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website.
This information has been reviewed and approved by Ahmad Rashid, MD (December 2020).
Treatment for most people diagnosed with COVID-19 is about relieving symptoms. While you have symptoms:
Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Stay home from work, school and public places so you don’t infect other people.
Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
Get extra rest and sleep in a separate bedroom, so you don’t infect family members.
Take over-the-counter medications for fever, headache, congestion, cough and sore throat.
Gargle with saltwater to relieve a sore throat.
Eat a bland diet such as bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, if diarrhea is a problem.
Use a separate bathroom and disinfect surfaces you touch after each use.
Wear gloves if you have to be around other people and animals.
Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow during coughs and sneezes.
Wear a mask if you have a cough and a fever (wash your hands before and after placing a mask on and taking it off).
Follow your doctor’s advice.
If you have other health conditions, follow those treatment plans and ask questions if those treatments become challenging.
Learn more about COVID-19 and how it affects specific health conditions in these printable patient education materials.
Download COVID-19 Materials