Despite almost per year of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to enjoy an edge over humankind which can be not surprising considering the unprecedented crisis earned by a disease 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 an event to simply accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on around for a highly effective vaccine, and for the time being intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible ways of treatment. The main concern of most efforts staying at least to cut back the mortality rates which also differ country-wise and inexplicably, and till today it’s been an accepted fact that there is no remedy for the disease. Various vaccine projects in various stages of development have been in full swing in various countries with many of them promising a vaccine by the newest year day or early next year. Now, the most recent disappointing developments on treatment methods practiced up to now have posed the absolute most relevant question: is a highly effective vaccine only hope for humankind?
Many 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 as time passes this drug was found ineffective and somewhat harmful too in respect to natural immunity โควิด 19. Then there have been other drugs and steroids that have been used with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being the main one most welcomed one as a life-saver.
The results 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 very promising drugs as ineffective in reducing mortality. The four evaluated treatment methods, HCQ, Remdesivir, Lopinavir or Ritonavir and Interferon, have been found to own little if any affect mortality rates. As far as the RCTs conducted in various countries of the entire world including in China are involved there will always be doubts on their findings, and experts wish for more such studies. Objections were raised against 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 over the months within their patients. However, technically, this means that except for Corticosteroids that have been proven effective in treating critical patients there’s no other deemed treatment method, and in addition it must certanly be remembered that steroids aren’t 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), up to now 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, particularly the more severe ones treated in hospitals. On the months it’s been developed into an organized treatment method creating proper channels of donations across the states as infected doctors too managed to get an indicate donate the precious plasma.
The Director General of the ICMR declared the outcomes on 20th October 2020 after conducting its own RCT during April-July amount of the season covering over 400 hospitals across 39 medical centers of the country. Based on the results the ICMR has figured the CPT fails to cut back the mortality rates or avoid 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. This really is indeed sad news as CPT is a huge extremely popular way of COVID-19 treatment in the absence of a highly effective vaccine.
Experts, however, aren’t convinced concerning the CPT results saying that it might experienced related to the delay of the infusion and the quality of the antibodies. Internationally, the CPT remains a treatment method meant only for emergency use. Anyway, in view of most these findings the importance of discovering a highly effective vaccine grows even more. The pandemic is not even close to keeping its clutches off humankind yet: after over half a year of haphazard acceleration India has finally reached its peak in the next week of September 2020 with new cases still hovering around fifty thousand a day and 500+ daily deaths whilst the European countries and the US are experiencing another wave.
Chinmay Chakravarty is really a professional specialized in the creative field with over 2 full 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.