Even with almost a year of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to enjoy an edge over humankind that is not surprising taking into consideration the unprecedented crisis earned by a virus hardly proven to anybody, its seemingly selective approach when it comes to mildness or severity of the infection, baffling all medical scientists and doctors. Humankind, in its present very advanced stage of the knowledge search, is never a party to accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on around for a highly effective vaccine, and in the meantime intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible methods of treatment. The principal interest of most efforts staying at least to lessen the mortality rates which also differ country-wise and inexplicably, and till today it’s been an accepted fact that there surely is 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 so far have posed the most relevant question: is a highly effective vaccine only expect humankind?
Most of us remember the desperate international craving for a basically Indian anti-malarial drug called Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) once 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 several other drugs and steroids that were used in combination with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being the one most welcomed one as a life-saver.
The outcome of the Solidarity Clinical Trial, one of many 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 now been found to have little or no impact on mortality rates. So far as the RCTs conducted in several countries of the world including in China are concerned there have been doubts on their findings, and experts want 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 within the months in their patients. However, technically, this means that with the exception of Corticosteroids that have been proven effective in treating critical patients there’s no other deemed treatment method, and additionally 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), so far 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’s been developed into an organized 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 results on 20th October 2020 after conducting a unique RCT during April-July amount of the entire year covering over 400 hospitals across 39 medical centers of the country. Based on the results the ICMR has figured the CPT fails to lessen the mortality rates or avoid the progression of COVID-19 infections from moderate to severe stages. Following this locating 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 approach to COVID-19 treatment in the absence of a highly effective vaccine.
Experts, however, aren’t convinced about the CPT results saying that it could experienced to do with the delay of the infusion and the caliber of the antibodies. Internationally, the CPT continues to be a treatment method meant limited to emergency use. Anyway, in view of most these findings the significance of discovering a highly effective 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 third week of September 2020 with new cases still hovering around fifty thousand a day and 500+ daily deaths as 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. Experienced 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.