Despite almost per year of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to take pleasure from an edge over humankind that is not surprising taking into consideration 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 data search, is never a party to simply accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on all over for a fruitful vaccine, and in the meantime intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible ways of treatment. The main concern of most efforts being 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 have been 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 up to now have posed the most relevant question: is a fruitful vaccine only expect humankind?
The majority 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 likely to the extent of threatening India if supplies of HCQ were not. However, slowly over time this drug was found ineffective and a little harmful too according to natural immunity โควิด 19. Then there were many drugs and steroids that were 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’s 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 or no effect on mortality rates. In terms of the RCTs conducted in several countries of the planet including in China are concerned there have been doubts on their findings, and experts wish for more such studies. Objections were raised contrary to 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 aside from Corticosteroids that have been proven effective in treating critical patients there is no other deemed treatment method, and in addition it should 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), up to now permitted being an investigational therapy in progressive stages of the disease 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 has been developed into an organized treatment method creating proper channels of donations across the states as infected doctors too made it a point out donate the precious plasma.
The Director General of the ICMR declared the results on 20th October 2020 after conducting a unique RCT during April-July period of the season covering over 400 hospitals across 39 medical centers of the country. Based on the results the ICMR has concluded that the CPT fails to lessen 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 very popular method of COVID-19 treatment in the absence of a fruitful vaccine.
Experts, however, are not convinced concerning the CPT results saying that it may have experienced regarding the delay of the infusion and the caliber of the antibodies. Internationally, the CPT continues to be remedy method meant just for emergency use. Anyway, in view of most these findings the significance of discovering a fruitful vaccine grows even more. The pandemic is definately not keeping its clutches off humankind yet: after over six 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 per day and 500+ daily deaths whilst the European countries and the US are experiencing an additional 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.