Even after almost per year of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to take pleasure from an advantage over humankind which is not surprising taking into consideration the unprecedented crisis brought in by a disease hardly recognized 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 celebration to just accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on around for a powerful vaccine, and meanwhile intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible types of treatment. The main concern of efforts coming to 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 surely is no cure for the disease. Various vaccine projects in a variety of stages of development have been in full swing in a variety of countries with most of them promising a vaccine by the new year day or early next year. Now, the newest disappointing developments on treatment methods practiced to date have posed the absolute most relevant question: is a powerful vaccine only hope for humankind?
Many 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 planning to the extent of threatening India if supplies of HCQ were not. However, slowly over time this drug was found ineffective and somewhat harmful too according to natural immunity โควิด 19. Then there were several other drugs and steroids which were used with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being the one most welcomed one as a life-saver.
The results of the Solidarity Clinical Trial, among 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 possess little or no affect mortality rates. In terms of the RCTs conducted in a variety of countries of the planet including in China are concerned there have been doubts on the 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 avoid using Remdesivir claiming its benefits over the months within their patients. However, technically, it indicates that with the exception of Corticosteroids that have been proven effective in treating critical patients there’s no other deemed treatment method, and it also must 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), 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. Within the months it’s been developed into a systematic treatment method creating proper channels of donations across 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 concluded that the CPT fails to cut back the mortality rates or avoid the progression of COVID-19 infections from moderate to severe stages. Following this choosing 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 popular method of COVID-19 treatment in the lack of a powerful vaccine.
Experts, however, aren’t convinced concerning the CPT results saying that it may 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 only for emergency use. Anyway, because of these findings the importance of discovering a powerful vaccine grows even more. The pandemic is far from keeping its clutches off humankind yet: after over half a year of haphazard acceleration India has finally reached its peak in the third week of September 2020 with new cases still hovering around fifty thousand each day and 500+ daily deaths whilst the European countries and the US are experiencing a second 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.