Of course, COVID-19 is a pandemic that no one could have predicted. If you had explained the condition of the world right now, with the lockdowns and the restrictions in place, as well as global deaths and isolations processes, to anyone over a year ago, they might have thought you’d be crazy.
However, it’s the reality we’re living in. Six months down the line and the world is still settling in and figuring out what to do. That being said, are we any closer to finding a vaccine or cure to the virus, or how long will these conditions have to go on for? In today’s post, we’ll explore everything you need to know.
The Global Effort
It should come as no surprise that scientists around the world are working together to figure out a cure, vaccine, and other possible treatments. With cases around the world topping over nine million people, a number that is continuing to grow every single day, this treatment-seeking process is becoming more and more important.
The main goal would be to cure the disease completely, but if a treatment can be found to lessen the intensity of the symptoms and the damage that the virus is causing. Firstly, already pre-approved drugs have been tested to see whether they can create any benefits, or drugs that have already been tested on other viruses.
As you can imagine, this is a huge effort to take place.
In the US, as of the 8th May, two medications had been given emergency authorization from the FDA to help sedate people who are on ventilators. Anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were also pushed through, but the results that the drugs can treat coronavirus came back as minimal.
Clinical trials are still underway for existing drugs and treatments since not only do the drugs need to help prevent coronavirus symptoms or cure it completely, it also needs to be safe for humans to use.
How long will this take?
“To develop a proper treatment, the current average timespan being estimated by experts is around 19 months. When you’re looking in a treatment as complicated as a vaccine, we’re going to be waiting even longer. This is because it needs to be created, refined, and then tested to ensure it’s safe,” shares Jessica Garner, a business blogger at Draft beyond and Last minute writing.
What’s happened in the past with new treatments?
Of course, the above is only viable if the treatment for coronavirus has already been discovered, but what if something new needs to be found and developed in aid of a cure or vaccine?
“In the past, it can take literally decades or more for a newly discovered compound to pass from discovery to marketplace. This is why it’s best to look at existing products and how they can help,” explains Joseph Lawrence, a journalist at Writinity and Research papers UK.
What’s being looked at?
According to scientists in the British Journal of Pharmacology, based in the UK, there have been three stages at which the coronavirus can be targeted at stages of infection. These are, stopping the virus from entering our cells altogether, preventing the coronavirus from replicating inside human cells or minimizing the damage it does. Most of the drugs aimed and fulfilling one of these needs sit in the antiviral’s category.
The thing with antivirals is that they work better the earlier they can be administered to a patient. This means people need to be tested and found to have COVID-19 as soon as possible, so they can be given treatment, but this is clearly easier said than done with the current testing practices around the world.
They need to be administered early before the virus cells start to multiply inside the host and before significant tissue damage has occurred to parts of the body, such as the lungs and other vulnerable tissues.
With this in mind, it’s clear that antivirals are the way forward since these can be put into practice way before a vaccine can be developed, and so, and the current time of writing, this is where we are with how close we humans are to curing and treating coronavirus.