Available countermeasures for SARS-CoV-2

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Available countermeasures for SARS-CoV-2:

We are amidst a pandemic and we have come a long way. Let us discuss about the current situation regarding the vaccines, their “research and treatment for COVID-19“aka “SARS-COV-2

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Overview:

As it was unexpected no one was prepared, leading to a hopeless situation as there was neither vaccines nor did they know the right course of treatment. Despite everything hope dawned upon us when the vaccines were created and treating COVID-19 became possible. Researchers/Scientists throughout the world have been developing various vaccines & treatments for the disease COVID-19 caused by corona virus .Many companies are working on antiviral drugs and various other treatment methods to lessen the symptoms and effects caused by COVID-19. In the United States of America there are three vaccines that are being administered. The Food and Administration (FDA) on Oct gave permission to remdesivir, it is the first ever drug approved for COVID-19 treatment. They published emergency use authorizations (EUAs) which permits physicians to utilize these drugs even though they haven’t undergone FDA approval procedure correctly. Not only for this but they allowed some more treatments too.

COVID-19 & vaccines:

Vaccines safeguard people before they get exposed to a virus whereas in the present situation against SARS-CoV-2. Vaccines train the immune system to identify and attack a virus, even though it wasn’t seen earlier. They mimic an infection , and never affects us. Vaccines provide herd/community immunity i.e. protect community by lessening the disease spread.

Clinical trial stages- what happens?

Phase 1: The drug is given to a small number of healthy individuals and ones with a disease to study for side effects and decide the best dose.
Phase 2: The drug is given to several hundred people who have the disease, looking to see whether it’s effective and if there are any side effects that weren’t caught during the initial testing.
Phase 3: It is a large-scale trial, the drug is given to several hundred or up to 3,000 people. A similar group of people take a inactive compound/placebo. The trial is random and can take 1 to 4 years. This phase gives the first class result of how the drug works and the common side effects.
Phase 4: Drugs that are approved for use undergo continued monitoring to make sure there are no other side effects.

Steps taken for Moderna’s vaccine:

   MONTH

              STATUS

          RESULT

March

began testing two-dose messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine

Positive results

July

began phase 3 clinical trials

 

August

 

preliminary phase 1 trial data showed

the vaccine induced promising immune response in 10 people between the ages of 56 & 70 as well as 10 people over age of 70

October

Included more participants with a variety of criteria

November

trial’s data and safety monitoring board started analyzing study data

Efficiency rate of vaccine is 94 percent in initial phase 3 trial results

December

FDA gave an emergency use authorization

began shipping out the product three days later.

Some on progress COVID-19 vaccine projects:

Repurposed vaccines:

  1. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia is conducting a phase 3 trial of the bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) tuberculosis vaccine to check whether or not it protects people from the coronavirus. This trial is being done in Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
  2. A few scientists think the polio vaccine might boost the immune system just enough to fight off the new coronavirus but there is no evidence yet to confirm this theory.
  3. Two U.S. researchers suggested that the MMR vaccine( Measles, mumps, rubella) can provide protection against inflammation & sepsis in people with COVID-19. They suggest starting a clinical trial with the MMR vaccine in healthcare workers.

Antivirals:

They are drugs used for treating viral infections. A few antivirals target specific viruses, while others work against a number of viruses. This can work in different ways such as preventing the virus from entering host cells, replicating, or releasing viral particles to infect other cells.

Antivirals treatments used/will be used for COVID-19:

Remdesivir (Veklury)

  1. was developed before 10 years
  2. did not succeed in clinical trials against Ebola in 2014.
  3. it is safe to use in people
  4. seeing the positive results was approved for emergency use on May for patients with acute COVID-19.
  5. reduces the number of days up to 5 days of hospital stay for COVID-19 according results of a phase 3 trial
  6. individuals have lower risk of dying
  7. Finally in October FDA gave the green light to use remdesivir for COVID-19, both in adults & children older than 11 years.

Research with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)

  1. MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by a virus transmitted between animals and people & a disease caused by a different coronavirus
  2. the drug obstructed the virus from replicating.

Monoclonal antibodies:

These antibodies activates the immune system to attack a virus. Similar to antibodies made by our body’s immune system lab-made molecules target a specific invader in our case for SARS-CoV-2. Some of them are mentioned below:

  1. AstraZeneca – got funds in October to begin phase 3 trials of its anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody combo drug AZD7442. The study will find out whether the drug can give protection for 12 months. This drug is prepared of two antibodies isolated from the blood of a couple from Wuhan, China, uncovered by Vanderbilt University Medical Center,
  2. Celltrion (South Korean company)– began in October their phase 3 trail of CT-P59. It has been tested in individuals who were in direct contact with COVID-19 patients to see if the drug can prevent infection.
  3. Edesa Biotech Inc.got permission to begin a phase 2 trail for EB05. They believe their company’s drug can reduce the overactive immune responses associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a serious condition seen in many COVID-19 patients.
  4. Eli Lilly (American pharmaceutical company) Stated in October that a new treatment with two antibodies showed promising results in reducing SARS-CoV-2 levels. The treatment was given to people getting treated at home for COVID-19.

Convalescent plasma therapy:

The FDA has notified medical facilities to perform trials on an experimental treatment that uses blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19. The theory is that their plasma contains antibodies that will attack this particular coronavirus. In May, researchers stated that 19 out of 25 people with COVID-19 who were given convalescent plasma therapy treatment transfusions at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas had improved. Eleven of those patients have been released from the hospital. Mayo Clinic and Michigan State University are also following convalescent plasma treatment. The FDA in August issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma therapy to treat COVID-19. Despite this some experts say more research is needed on this this type of treatment.

 

Immune modulators:

In some with COVID-19 their immune system overworks resulting in large amounts of small proteins(cytokines). Scientists tend to believe that this cytokine overdrive as the cause for Acute respiratory distress syndrome(ARDS) in severe COVID-19 patients, bringing the use of a ventilator. Several immune suppressants are being tested in clinical trials to see whether the drugs can put an end to the cytokine overdrive and lessen the severity of ARDS.

Present situation in India:

In India COVID-19 second wave shook the whole nation they had vaccine shortage as a result of being unprepared. It was falsely stated that India reached herd immunity whereas only 21% of the population had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2(Indian Council of Medical Research) & 12.5% have been vaccinated as of June 2. To solve the current problem they authorized vaccines from other nations even if they have not gone through clinical trials in India.

India has permitted three COVID-19 vaccines:

  1. Covaxin- by Bharat Biotech
  2. Covishield- by Oxford/AstraZeneca
  3. Sputnik V- by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Russia.

To Know:

The most prevalent symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever, cough and breathing problems. If a person doesn’t have severe symptoms they can get treated at home them at home, under the guidance of your physician. If you are getting treated at home make sure to monitor your symptoms regularly, rest, do breathing exercises and stay hydrated.

Conclusion:

There are various new treatment emerging frequently. They require a lot of time to be tested, approved after seeing positive results & then distributed. There are many local drugs available in a particular region that we are not aware of too. Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, a professor states that despite the technological advances which makes a few things accessible to us quickly, we still need to follow social distancing, self-isolation, and other measures needed to keep ourselves and our community safe. So, let us get vaccinated and continue to follow the required safety guidelines.

 

 

 

 

 

Author Profile

Subin Joshua
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Subin Joshua
Hi there, my name is Subin Joshua, and I am a Medical student. I grew up in a family of teachers and know that being a social worker is my calling. My passion for helping others has been evident in my involvement in helping the poor and needy for the last three years. Through those experiences, I have learned to interact with a diverse group of people, which has increased my ability to relate to others.