The World Health Organization Declared COVID A Pandemic 2 Years Ago

In the last two years, 12 COVID vaccines have been approved for full use worldwide. Nineteen more are authorized for limited use.

The World Health Organization Declared COVID A Pandemic 2 Years Ago
Mark Schiefelbein / AP

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Biomedical researchers around the world immediately focused on treatments and vaccines for the virus.

Two years later the globe's COVID tools have grown.  

Worldwide, 12 COVID vaccines are approved for full use. Nineteen more are authorized for limited use.  

We have three vaccines approved or authorized for children as young as five in the U.S.  

And for the immunocompromised, there's a preventive drug called Evusheld, which is also an option for those medically unable to get a COVID vaccine 

A handful of treatments can help people once they get sick, stay out of the hospital. One has FDA approval, while others are being widely used.

Monoclonal antibody treatments from Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline are authorized for those with mild to moderate COVID.  

Three antivirals: The IV treatment Remdesivir, the pill Molnupiravir and the pill Paxlovid are available prescription medications. 

This week the U.S.' Test to Treat program began allowing those with COVID symptoms to go to certain pharmacy-based clinics, get a free test and walk out with a free course of COVID treatment pills after making sure they're also medically OK to get it because of side effects. 

"Any liver or kidney disease will have to be assessed. So potentially, laboratory values will have to be reviewed to make sure that is safe for those people," said pharmacist William Parker.

There's still work to be done and questions to be answered.

Pediatric specific antiviral trials are underway and there's not any universal treatment for long COVID patients. 

"Right now, it's still in its infancy in terms of what we know about long COVID and what we know about how SARS-CoV-2 integrates itself into the host, the patient," said Dr. Loretta Que, a pulmonologist at the Duke University School of Medicine.

The virus and science will continue to evolve but compared to 2020, we're in far better place.