The deadly outbreak of Wuhan, China has certainly taken the world by storm. The topic is certainly one of the most talked about in present times and that is the coronavirus and the disease COVID-19. This is not the first time the world has seen the terror of coronavirus. We have faced two outbreaks of this disease previously. They were named SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern). The outbreaks happened in 2002 and 2012 respectively. The genetics of the current coronavirus has similarity to the previous SARS which is also why it is called SARS-COV-2. The name COVID-19 comes from the COV which represents its virus group that is a group of RNA viruses and 19 stands for the year the outbreak occurred. Taking both of these aspects and putting them together gives us “COVID-19”.
The COVID-19 causes respiratory problems. In normal cases it is said to cause high fevers and then pass away after two weeks or so. The risk remains for elderly or people with previous medical conditions. For those the virus takes a much more serious route. The virus causes severe respiratory problems, infections and pneumonias for them. As a result it has caused deaths of over fourteen thousand people around the world.
The virus is extremely easy to transfer and transfers through respiratory droplets. It also transfers through close physical contact. If an infected person has virus in his hand and then another person touches that hand or makes physical contact then he/she is prone to get infected by the virus. The virus enters through the nose, eyes, and mouth which is why touching the face before washing hands is cautioned.
Despite having similarities with the previous SARS-COV we still do not have a vaccine to cure this disease. Many countries are having lock downs. Tons of quarantine and Isolation chambers have been established and are still being built as the number of infected rises every day. Currently the virus has spread over 80 countries. Doctors and researchers are working every day to find a breakthrough for this now stated public health emergency.
So where are we in this regards of discovering the cure?
WHO estimates it to take a total of 14-18 month before getting a tested, approved and manufactured cure for the pandemic. But researchers are in hopes of making the cure sooner.
Let’s discuss what has been tested so far and which vaccines are in development.
First of all one thing is certain that the world is yet to discover an effective cure but there are some promising medications which are in progress.
USA has attempted to use chloroquine as a cure for coronavirus. Chloroquine has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to be tested for the purpose of using it as an anti-viral. China On the other hand are also running trials and testing medicines. Their recent trial was on 70 patients which came out to be a success. The medicine used was named Favilavir. It has been stated effective in treating the disease with minimum side effect. Trails are still being done to test its effectiveness.
On the other hand various companies are working effortlessly to find medication which are able to stop the disease. The company named I-Mab Biopharma is developing an antibody called TJM2 to fight off against the infection coronavirus causes. The antibody will effect human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and in turn reduce the inflammation caused by corona virus.
Medicago after forming a collaboration Laval University’s Infectious Disease Research Centre is working to form antibodies to fight against the virus.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals a company in collaboration with Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Company is processing the development of a vaccine named INO-4800. The company has already started pre-clinical testing and has been grant permission for human clinical trials for which it has created 3000 doses to test out.
BioNTech a German company has advanced in creating an mRNA vaccine to fight against the novel coronavirus. The development of this will begin from the 3rd of April. The aim of the antibodies will be to increase the production of the antibodies to make the human body more resilient against the virus.
Another company named Inovio Pharmaceuticals has been working for four decades in trying to make medicines from DNA. The company also think they are in the verge of making a breakthrough in this dire situation.
There are several other companies who are trying to pick up pace and develop a cure to put an end to this pandemic. But all of them are in developing stages and it could take months to get our hands on approved medication.
For the time being the best way to fend off against this virus is to take proper precaution. The best way to do it is to stop the spreading of the virus which is why mass awareness is being created about social distancing, quarantine and most importantly being hygienic. Yes being hygienic and especially washing your hands often is the best way to stop the spread. It is that easy. All you have to do is use soap or alcohol fused hand rubs to wash your hand thoroughly and multiple times and you can help stop the spread of the virus.
As we previously mentioned the virus is easily transferrable which is why the best way to fight against it is to stop its spread till we get an approved vaccine. Till then all treatments are aimed for the infected person’s supportive treatment. Scientist, researchers, doctors are working effortlessly and investors are also providing funds to stop this pandemic. We have to be patient and put our trust in the higher authority as well. In order to win against this virus even the general people have to play their responsible roles to effectively fend off this global pandemic.