Even after almost a year of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to enjoy a benefit over humankind that will be not surprising thinking about the unprecedented crisis brought in by a disease hardly known to anybody, its seemingly selective approach with regards to 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 accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on around for a successful 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 all efforts coming to least to lessen the mortality rates which also differ country-wise and inexplicably, and till today it’s been an accepted fact that there’s no cure for the disease. Various vaccine projects in several stages of development come in full swing in several countries with many 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 most relevant question: is a successful vaccine only a cure 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 over time 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 in combination with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being the main one most welcomed one as a life-saver.
The outcome 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 very 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 have little if any effect on mortality rates. In terms of the RCTs conducted in several countries of the world including in China are involved there have been doubts on the findings, and experts feel the need for more such studies. Objections were raised from 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 within their patients. However, technically, it indicates that aside from Corticosteroids which were proven effective in treating critical patients there’s 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), to date permitted as 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 resulted in a systematic 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 period 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 lessen the mortality rates or stop 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. That is indeed sad news as CPT is a huge popular method of COVID-19 treatment in the lack of a successful vaccine.
Experts, however, are not convinced in regards to the CPT results saying that it could experienced to do with the delay of the infusion and the quality of the antibodies. Internationally, the CPT continues to be cure method meant just for emergency use. Anyway, in view of all these findings the importance of discovering a successful vaccine grows even more. The pandemic is definately not 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 while the European countries and the US are experiencing another wave.
Chinmay Chakravarty is really a professional specialized in the creative field with over two 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.