Finding an Effective Treatment for COVID-19

By: Jordyn Jackson

Photos: Pixabay

Throughout the past year, a deadly virus has plagued our world. We know this virus as COVID-19.

Throughout the past year, a deadly virus has plagued our world. We know this virus as COVID-19. Because of this global pandemic, much of the world erupted into panic. Since the start of the pandemic, scientists have been working tirelessly trying to develop a vaccine or treatment for this virus and after almost a year later, scientists seem to be making positive progress. Scientists are trying many things in order to find an effective treatment or develop a working vaccine and some of them are proving to be effective. Because of the progress that has already been made in so little time, I believe that we will have an entirely effective treatment for COVID-19 by the end of next year because several of the treatments that look promising are already in their trial stages.

COVID-19 is an acute respiratory illness that can produce severe symptoms and in extreme cases, cause death. Some symptoms of this virus include, fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, and loss of taste and/or smell. The only way one can avoid contracting the virus that we know of right now is, wash your hands often, avoid close contact with anyone who is sick, social distance, wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The audience that this paper might speak to the most is those who are interested in health professions and those who are generally concerned about public health issues. Public health has to do with the health of the population as a whole, especially as the subject of government regulation and support. It has to do with the branch of medicine that deals with public health in relation to hygiene, epidemiology, and disease prevention. I think students who are interested in health professions within the Marymount Community are most likely to benefit from reading this article and it’s overall educational purposes. 

According to Medical News Today, the most effective treatment that has been tested by scientists so far involves the nanobodies of alpacas. Scientists suggest that, after extensive research, it has been found that alpacas naturally produce antibodies that prevent them from being infected by “SARS-CoV-2” or COVID-19. The article states, “These promising initial observations have led the scientists to argue that, subject to future investigation and experiments, the nanobody may eventually help prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in people at high risk,” (Medical News Today). Scientists believe that these antibodies will prove to be effective if utilized by the population that is considered to be “high risk” such as elderly people and those with underlying health conditions.

According to the NIH, another treatment besides the alpaca nanobodies that is being looked into is the distribution and use of the drug remdesivir. Remdesivir is said to reduce the amount of proteins that trigger inflammation in the body. Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication that is administered via injection into a vein. It has been approved or authorized for emergency use to treat COVID‑19 in around 50 countries. It causes side effects such as nausea, constipation, pain, bleeding, and bruising of the skin near the place where the medication was injected. “A study published in The Lancet in May reported that participants in a clinical trial who took remdesivir showed no benefits compared to people who took a placebo,” (Healthline). According to the article, “The clinical trial aims to determine if modulating that immune response [unleashing excessive amounts of proteins, in which inflammation occurs] can reduce the need for ventilators and shorten hospital stays.” This particular trial involving remdesivir is set to last about six months.

According to Healthline, scientists are confident that they will have a fully effective treatment for the virus by next year because of the recent technological advances that have been made. Scientists are now able to map out the different strains of viruses. By creating models scientists are able to map out the possible mutations of the virus and use that information to look into various treatments that could work in preventing the virus from infecting healthy cells. By studying mutations, scientists have been able to decode more than 10,000 different genomes of the COVID-19, this is helpful in creating the comprehensive map that will be crucial to controlling the pandemic and developing medicines to treat it.

Recently, scientists have announced that companies have found another effective vaccine. This vaccine in particular is the most effective one so far. Dr. Albert Bourla stated, “Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19…” Dr. Albert Bourla is the chairman and CEO of the company “Pfizer,” and continued on to say, “We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen. With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.” As the study continues, the final vaccine efficacy percentage may vary. There has not been any reported safety concerns and the FDA has recommended that the study continue to collect additional safety and efficacy data as planned. The data will be discussed with regulatory authorities worldwide.

Although there has been some promising news recently in regards to manufacturing an effective vaccine, this does not mean that everything will quickly return to normal. According to an article published in The Washington Post, “The first shots may be given mid- to late December, but that doesn’t mean you can hug your friends, stop washing your hands or throw away your mask any time soon.” Because of the wide range of infection rates that occur, it is not clear yet who would receive the vaccine first and how to effectively distribute it. In addition to that, scientists don’t know a host of other things about the vaccine. The article states, “Scientists still don’t know how long vaccine-induced protection will last… or whether inoculations can block actual infection, or only prevent the onset of [the] disease.” Because of all of this uncertainty, people should not be so quick to let their guards down. Once the vaccine proves to be effective enough, then over time things can slowly start to return to normal, but for the time being, wearing masks and social distancing should be considered the new normal.

Scientists are using various methods to try to find a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 and are continually testing different drugs that they believe could be very successful and effective. Scientists have found some promising treatments and are in the trial stages for many of their treatments. Many believe that we will have an effective treatment by next year and life can eventually return to a new normal. Although having an effective vaccine will greatly reduce the risk of transmission and infection in the population, we should not completely abandon basic public health measures.

 

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