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MedUni Vienna heads up working group on off-label SARS-CoV-2 medication

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(Vienna, 26 March 2020) On behalf of the Medical University of Vienna, Markus Zeitlinger from the Department of Clinical Pharmacology is heading up a working group of renowned international experts in infectiology, clinical pharmacology and pharmaceuticals, with the aim of establishing an international consensus on the use of off-label antiviral medication to treat SARS-CoV-2. This is taking place under the aegis of ESPAG (working group of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases). 

"The focus is on dosage and interactions between antiviral drugs and/or concomitant medication of critically ill COVID-19 patients," explains Markus Zeitlinger, Head of MedUni Vienna’s Department of Clinical Pharmacology, who, together with other experts, has written an international review for the leading journal "Clinical Infectious Diseases", which is currently being reviewed.

Says Zeitlinger: "However, the World Health Organisation is already gathering publications on the subject of COVID-19 before they are published."

However, the list does not in itself constitute a treatment recommendation and it is still necessary to follow the existing national and international guidelines. The data are to be considered in conjunction with the current and very dynamic literature on the subject, stresses Zeitlinger. At the same time, he adds the caveat: "We cannot assume any responsibility regarding dosage, since this is off-label use, but it is still necessary to consult the relevant prescribing information."