Even with almost annually of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to enjoy a benefit over humankind that will be not surprising considering 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 knowledge search, is never an event to just accept defeat, and therefore, the quest has been relentlessly going on all over for a highly effective vaccine, and in the meantime intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible methods of treatment. The priority of most efforts coming to least to lessen the mortality rates which also differ country-wise and inexplicably, and till today it has been an accepted fact that there surely is no cure for the disease. Various vaccine projects in various stages of development are in full swing in various countries with many 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 probably the most relevant question: is a highly effective 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 likely 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 were many drugs and steroids that were used with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being the 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 promising drugs as ineffective in reducing mortality. The four evaluated treatment methods, HCQ, Remdesivir, Lopinavir or Ritonavir and Interferon, have been found to own minimum impact on mortality rates. So far as the RCTs conducted in various countries of the planet including in China are involved there have always been doubts on the findings, and experts wish 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 stop using Remdesivir claiming its benefits within the months within their patients. However, technically, it means that except for Corticosteroids which 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), 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. Over the months it has been progressed into a systematic treatment method creating proper channels of donations over the states as infected doctors too caused it to be an indicate donate the precious plasma.
The Director General of the ICMR declared the results on 20th October 2020 after conducting its own 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 lessen the mortality rates or avoid 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. This really is indeed sad news as CPT is a very popular way of COVID-19 treatment in the lack of a highly effective vaccine.
Experts, however, are not convinced in regards to the CPT results saying that it could have had to do with the delay of the infusion and the grade of the antibodies. Internationally, the CPT continues to be cure method meant limited to emergency use. Anyway, in view of most these findings the significance of discovering a highly effective 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 a day and 500+ daily deaths as the European countries and the US are experiencing a second wave.
Chinmay Chakravarty is just 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.