Even after almost a year of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to enjoy a benefit over humankind which can be not surprising thinking about the unprecedented crisis earned by a virus hardly known to anybody, its seemingly selective approach in terms of mildness or severity of the infection, baffling all medical scientists and doctors. Humankind, in its present very advanced stage of the information search, is never a party to just accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on all over for a successful vaccine, and in the meantime intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible methods of treatment. The priority of most efforts staying at least to lessen the mortality rates which also differ country-wise and inexplicably, and till today it has been an accepted fact that there’s no cure for the disease. Various vaccine projects in several stages of development are in full swing in several countries with a lot of them promising a vaccine by the brand new year day or early next year. Now, the latest disappointing developments on treatment methods practiced to date have posed the absolute most relevant question: is a successful vaccine only expect humankind?
Most of us remember the desperate international craving for a basically Indian anti-malarial drug called Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) when the pandemic was raging furiously in Europe and the US, and the US President going to the extent of threatening India if supplies of HCQ were not. However, slowly over time this drug was found ineffective and a bit harmful too in respect to natural immunity โควิด 19. Then there were many drugs and steroids that have been used in combination with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being the one most welcomed one as a life-saver.
The outcomes of the Solidarity Clinical Trial, one of the largest international Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT), that has been conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) since March 2020 were declared recently which marked four of the most promising drugs as ineffective in reducing mortality. The four evaluated treatment methods, HCQ, Remdesivir, Lopinavir or Ritonavir and Interferon, have already been found to own little if any impact on mortality rates. In terms of the RCTs conducted in several countries of the world including in China are involved there will always be doubts on the findings, and experts want for more such studies. Objections were raised from the Solidarity Trial too as regards to its sampling methodology from various quarters, with one Indian hospital refusing to stop using Remdesivir claiming its benefits on the months inside their patients. However, technically, it indicates that except for Corticosteroids which have been proven effective in treating critical patients there’s no other deemed treatment method, and additionally, it must be remembered that steroids are not recommended for less-severe or general patients.
More disappointing news came next from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on the efficacy of the Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT), to date permitted as an investigational therapy in progressive stages of the illness in India, which involves taking out blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients and injecting this antibody-rich extract into positive patients, specially the more severe ones treated in hospitals. Over the months it has been resulted in a systematic treatment method creating proper channels of donations throughout the states as infected doctors too caused it to be a point to donate the precious plasma.
The Director General of the ICMR declared the outcomes on 20th October 2020 after conducting a unique RCT during April-July amount of the season covering over 400 hospitals across 39 medical centers of the country. On the basis of the results the ICMR has figured the CPT fails to lessen the mortality rates or stop the progression of COVID-19 infections from moderate to severe stages. Following this finding the Government of India is mulling removal of CPT from its COVID-19 protocol for national clinical management. That is indeed sad news as CPT is a huge popular way of COVID-19 treatment in the lack of a successful vaccine.
Experts, however, are not convinced concerning the CPT results saying that it might have had regarding the delay of the infusion and the quality of the antibodies. Internationally, the CPT continues to be remedy method meant limited to emergency use. Anyway, in view of most these findings the significance of discovering a successful vaccine grows even more. The pandemic is far from keeping its clutches off humankind yet: after over 6 months of haphazard acceleration India has finally reached its peak in the 3rd week of September 2020 with new cases still hovering around fifty thousand each day and 500+ daily deaths while the European countries and the US are experiencing another wave.
Chinmay Chakravarty is just a professional specialized in the creative field with over two decades of experience in journalistic writing, media co-ordination, film script writing, film dubbing, film & video making, management of international film festivals and editing of books & journals. Proficient in providing professional services in these related fields. Was an officer of Indian Information Service and superannuated from the post of Director, Press Information Bureau, Kolkata in November, 2019. Published his first solo book’Laugh and Let Laugh’in 2017.Health Read More