Corona Virus Challenges for Modern Medical Science -Md Jahid Hassan
Medicine is the symbol of trust. While fighting for life this magical thing creates the disparity. To make human life more comfortable, medicines have been used for thousands of years. It has become a part of human life. But how would you feel to hear that you have infected by a deadly incurable disease? Isn’t it frightening? Corona is one of such diseases.
The Covid-19 or novel corona virus is the 7th member of Corona family. It is identical to SARS about 70%. It’s an RNA virus which resembles crown. Due to our great Medical Science, we have got a blessing named antibiotics, which works against bacteria. But antibiotics don’t really work against virus. This is the fact that still the scientists have not fully succeeded to invent effective antiviral medicines.
In a broad line medicines are two types- Curative and Preventive. Curative medicine care intends to cure patients whereas preventive medicine is to promote health, prevent disease and death that includes vaccine. The main reason of inability to invent any treatment against Corona is the mutation. This deadly virus has mutated about 380 folds; that is why scientists are struggling but have not been succeed yet. The good news is that WHO has enlightened the world for distinct medicines to fight against Corona, which are Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, combination of Lopinavir & Ritonavir and another combination of these two with interferon. On the other hand, a Japanese drug called Avigan is also under investigation and trial.
According to data bases from scientist and doctors from worldwide it is found that the Hydroxychloroquine give the best result against Corona. It is an anti-malarial medicine. Another drug Azithromycin also give big result in combination form. Though these medicines have been succeeded to fight against Corona at lab, it is not approved by any healthcare organization yet. American President Donald Trump has been relying in on these two medicines. But people are not aware of the narrow escape of safety of Hydroxychloroquine. If anyone does like an overdose in administration, that will lead to extreme adverse effect even may cause death. That’s why without prescription, it is not wise to administer this medicine. On the other hand, in Bangladesh, due to excessive and un-prescribed antibiotic use, most of the medicine has become resistant. So, like developed countries, Bangladeshi people may not give positive results by using Azithromycin.
American biopharmaceuticals company Gilead Sciences produced Remdesivir to treat Ebola virus in Africa. However, not used then when found it cause poisoning in the liver. It is a broad spectrum antiviral against SARS, MARS, Nipah and Ebola so on. Now five large clinical trials are going on and among them two results will be available this month. In Malaysia, it has been applied upon the patients under the supervision of WHO.
Scientists were hoping that AIDS drug Lopinavir and Ritonavir would be effective against corona. But New England Journal of Medicine has found neither it reduces mortality rate nor cure rate by using such medicine. However, this may also be reason that the test was done in case of critical patients. Though India gave Importance to HIV drugs in March, they have walked out from that declaration.
Besides that, Chinese Medical authorities have found evidence of efficacy of Avigan against Corona, produced by Toyame Chemical Company, encouraging the clinical trial of 380 Corona patients in Wuhan & Shenzhen, with some side effect. The generic name of this medicine is Favipiravir. The drug is not as effective in case of serious patients with other complications in the transmission of the virus. This is especially beneficial for young, right-weight people who have not yet received symptoms. At present, the trial of this medicine is going on in several countries including Japan, Turkey. The drug is now starting to manufacture Beximco and Beacon Pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh.
Our body produces antibodies when harmful organisms enter into our human body. As a result, immunity generates against them. Convulsant Plasma Therapy is one of the immunization processes. It is actually the method of preventing the people from being infected with germs by injecting blood antibodies into their body and making their body resistant against organisms. It is called passive immunization. This method is used to treat infectious diseases like SARS, MARS, Ebola and Influenza. So there is a hope that this process can be used in case of Corona virus. Many countries, including the United States, South Korea and Turkey, have come forward to apply this method after China recently claimed good results in this method. Though this method is significantly working, it is expensive and a long term process. But there is a possibility that scientists will find a way to treat Corona before the vaccine is discovered.
Vaccination is a very complex and time consuming process. From vaccine discovery to a successful application in the animal body, and later in human, there are several strict control mechanisms. Usually it takes about five to eight years to reach in the hands of common people; in some cases it may take decades to reach. But concerning with the current situation, much quicker steps have been taken. Shortly after the outbreak of the Corona virus in China, China released the genome sequences of Corona virus to the world. As a result, vaccine began to be produced in various countries and private companies when virus remained in China. But unfortunately the genome sequences are still changing due to continuous mutation of the virus. As a result, the work has become more difficult and struggling.
According to the World Health Organization’s data, at least 20 types of vaccines are in the works worldwide. In the meantime, four vaccines have reached the testing stage in animals. The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) collaborated with Moderna has experimentally applied the vaccine called mRNA-1273 to 45 volunteers in Seattle. Now the result of this vaccine has been collected. After the United States, China has also experimentally applied a Corona virus vaccine called Ad5-nCoV to 108 among people in Wuhan. A vaccine made by the University of Oxford and the Jenner Institute ChAdOx1 is waiting for testing in the human body.
The experimental application of these vaccines began in only 60 days of gene sequence of Covid-19. There has been no evidence of vaccine preparation and experimental application in such a fast time. Researchers are working day and night to invent an effective vaccination. But if everything is right and work in the current speed, it will take a year to get a safe vaccine. Until then, awareness is our only Reliance.
The author is currently studying in Department of pharmacy at University of Cumilla.