Researchers are working hard to find out the cure/vaccine against COVID 19. Many projects on drugs and vaccines are going on and early success are enthusiastically reported in the media. This blog is an update on the actual current status of these projects.
There are currently no approved vaccines or cure for COVID 19. Doctors are treating symptoms so that the human bodies natural defence has time to fight off the virus.
COVID 19 infection is highly contagious and can affect people of all ages. The COVID-19 Illness is usually mild in children and young adults. A study reported that 81% of the patients have mild disease and they can recover in isolation at home with a general treatment protocol that includes
- Complete Bed rest
- Plenty of fluids
- A healthy diet
- Supportive treatment
Older adults and people with other medical conditions (high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, or diabetes) are at higher risk of developing a serious disease (5%) that may need admission, Intensive care, or ventilator support.
Preventive measures against coronavirus: A race for coronavirus vaccine
In an attempt to fight against coronavirus, multiple projects are going on worldwide to bring an effective vaccine. Clinical trials on humans of the different vaccines have been approved after successful preclinical trials in the U.S, U.K, Germany, and China. The safety and efficacy of these vaccines are yet to be evaluated.
The mainstay of treatment is early recognition followed by early isolation, early diagnosis, and early treatment. This includes general treatment such as providing oxygen and treatment of any secondary infection. Few therapies have shown positive results against the virus.
The United States FDA has approved COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT) for use in patients with critical and immediately life-threatening COVID-19 disease. CPT has reportedly shown positive results and improvement when administered in critically ill patients in China, U.S, and Delhi, India
Multiple research is going on around the globe to use traditional Plasma therapy as a treatment for COVID-19.
Figure 2: Convalescent Plasma Therapy
Proposed Drugs for use in severe, life threatening situations:
Antimalarial [chloroquine / Hydroxychloroquine] has been in the news and is being tested in different parts of the world. While this has received emergency approval for use in hospital settings and in special situations, this is a dangerous drug and can lead to serious side effects including heart failures and should not be used at home.
Several Antivirals alone or in combination, have been tried. Antivirals are found to help few patients but results are still inconclusive. One drug Remdesivir (originally developed for Ebola) has been in the news and has shown some promise. Seven clinical trials are in progress to prove safety and efficacy of the drug. As per National Institutes of Health data is still insufficient to recommend it for treatment of COVID-19. Again this drug is only for use in hospital settings and should never be used at home.
Scientists all over the world are working hard on the COVID 19 disease and scientific controlled trails are in progress. At this stage there is still no conclusive evidence in favour of any treatment, and prevention and maintaining your body’s natural immune system remains the main defence.