Even after 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 considering the unprecedented crisis brought in by a disease 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 information search, is never an event to simply accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on throughout for a fruitful 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 main concern of all efforts staying at 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 various stages of development are in full swing in various countries with a lot of them promising a vaccine by the brand new year day or early next year. Now, the most recent disappointing developments on treatment methods practiced so far have posed the absolute most relevant question: is a fruitful vaccine only hope 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 likely to the extent of threatening India if supplies of HCQ were not. However, slowly as time passes this drug was found ineffective and a little harmful too in respect to natural immunity โควิด 19. Then there were other drugs and steroids that have been combined with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being usually 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’s 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 own little if any effect on mortality rates. In terms of the RCTs conducted in various countries of the entire world including in China are involved there have always been doubts on their findings, and experts want 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 prevent using Remdesivir claiming its benefits over the months in their patients. However, technically, it indicates that with the exception of Corticosteroids which have been proven effective in treating critical patients there is no other deemed treatment method, and in addition, it should 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 as an investigational therapy in progressive stages of the condition 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. Within the months it’s been progressed into a systematic treatment method creating proper channels of donations throughout the states as infected doctors too made it a point out 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 amount 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 prevent the progression of COVID-19 infections from moderate to severe stages. Following this finding 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 remarkably popular way of COVID-19 treatment in the absence of a fruitful vaccine.
Experts, however, aren’t convinced in regards to the CPT results saying that it might experienced related to 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, because of all these findings the importance of discovering a fruitful 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 a day and 500+ daily deaths while the European countries and the US are experiencing another wave.
Chinmay Chakravarty is just 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.