Even after almost a year of its worldwide invasion the SARS-Cov-2 virus called COVID-19 continues to savor an edge over humankind which is not surprising taking into consideration the unprecedented crisis earned by a disease hardly recognized 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 all over for a successful vaccine, and for the time being intent research on anti-viral or anti-malarial repurposed drugs, plasma therapy and other possible methods of treatment. The priority of efforts coming to least to reduce the mortality rates which also differ country-wise and inexplicably, and till today it has been an accepted fact that there’s no remedy for the disease. Various vaccine projects in various stages of development come in full swing in various 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 so far have posed probably 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 likely 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 in respect to natural immunity โควิด 19. Then there have been several other drugs and steroids which were used in combination with seemingly hopeful results, Remdesivir being the one most welcomed one as a life-saver.
The outcomes of the Solidarity Clinical Trial, one of many 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 been found to possess little or no effect on mortality rates. So far as the RCTs conducted in various countries of the planet including in China are concerned 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 stop using Remdesivir claiming its benefits over the months inside their patients. However, technically, it means that with the exception of Corticosteroids which have been proven effective in treating critical patients there’s 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 being 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 has been resulted in an organized treatment method creating proper channels of donations over the states as infected doctors too made it an indicate donate the precious plasma.
The Director General of the ICMR declared the outcome on 20th October 2020 after conducting its 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 figured the CPT fails to reduce the mortality rates or prevent 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 is indeed sad news as CPT is a highly popular method of COVID-19 treatment in the absence of a successful vaccine.
Experts, however, aren’t convinced about the CPT results saying that it could experienced regarding the delay of the infusion and the grade of the antibodies. Internationally, the CPT remains a treatment method meant limited to emergency use. Anyway, in view of these findings the significance of discovering a successful vaccine grows even more. The pandemic is not even close to 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 as the European countries and the US are experiencing an additional 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.