Even after almost annually of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to savor an edge over humankind that is not surprising thinking about the unprecedented crisis brought in by a disease hardly recognized 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 knowledge search, is never a party to simply accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on throughout for a fruitful vaccine, and meanwhile intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible methods of treatment. The main concern of all 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 is no cure for the disease. Various vaccine projects in a variety of stages of development are in full swing in a variety of countries with most of them promising a vaccine by the newest year day or early next year. Now, the newest disappointing developments on treatment methods practiced so far 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) 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 a little harmful too according to natural immunity โควิด 19. Then there were 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 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 very promising drugs as ineffective in reducing mortality. The four evaluated treatment methods, HCQ, Remdesivir, Lopinavir or Ritonavir and Interferon, have already been found to own little if any effect on mortality rates. As far as the RCTs conducted in a variety of countries of the entire world including in China are concerned there will always be doubts on their findings, and experts feel the need 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 over the months within their patients. However, technically, it indicates that aside from Corticosteroids that have been proven effective in treating critical patients there’s no other deemed treatment method, and it also 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), so far 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 throughout the states as infected doctors too managed to get a point to donate the precious plasma.
The Director General of the ICMR declared the outcomes on 20th October 2020 after conducting a unique RCT during April-July period of the year covering over 400 hospitals across 39 medical centers of the country. On the basis of the results the ICMR has figured the CPT fails to reduce 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 has been a popular approach to COVID-19 treatment in the lack of a fruitful vaccine.
Experts, however, are not convinced in regards to the CPT results saying that it might have experienced related to the delay of the infusion and the grade of the antibodies. Internationally, the CPT remains remedy method meant only for emergency use. Anyway, because of all these findings the importance of discovering a fruitful 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 per day and 500+ daily deaths as the European countries and the US are experiencing another wave.
Chinmay Chakravarty is really 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.