Even after almost a year of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to savor a benefit over humankind that will be not surprising taking into consideration the unprecedented crisis earned by a virus hardly proven 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 an event to simply accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on throughout for a successful vaccine, and for the time being intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible types of treatment. The principal interest of most efforts coming to least to reduce the mortality rates which also differ country-wise and inexplicably, and till today it’s been an accepted fact that there’s no remedy 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 brand new year day or early next year. Now, the latest disappointing developments on treatment methods practiced up to now have posed probably the most relevant question: is a successful vaccine only hope for humankind?
The majority 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 with time this drug was found ineffective and somewhat harmful too according to natural immunity โควิด 19. Then there have been several other drugs and steroids which were used with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being the main 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 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 if any affect mortality rates. So far as the RCTs conducted in several countries of the entire world including in China are concerned there have been doubts on their findings, and experts want 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 within 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 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 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 progressed into an organized treatment method creating proper channels of donations over the states as infected doctors too managed to get an indicate donate the precious plasma.
The Director General of the ICMR declared the outcome 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 concluded that the CPT fails to reduce 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 very popular approach to COVID-19 treatment in the lack of a successful vaccine.
Experts, however, are not convinced concerning the CPT results saying that it could have had regarding the delay of the infusion and the quality 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 successful 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 next week of September 2020 with new cases still hovering around fifty thousand each day and 500+ daily deaths as the European countries and the US are experiencing another wave.
Chinmay Chakravarty is just a professional specialized in the creative field with over 2 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.