The world is beginning to come together to fight the largest pandemic the planet has seen since the infamous 1918 H1N1 flu which infected 1/3 of the world’s population and killed millions. So, how is the world tackling this new virus? First, it’s important to know the basics.
The new coronavirus is technically named SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 is the illness that results from the coronavirus infection. This new virus, along with past viruses like SARS and MERS originates from animals, in this instance, the source being bats. Because this is a viral infection, antibiotics are useless. The symptoms can range from asymptomatic to complications that lead to death. Patients over 65 and those with chronic conditions like heart diseases or lung problems are the most susceptible. Fortunately, we’re beginning to learn more about the virus, allowing us to fight back. Here’s what’s happening around the world:
~ Earlier this week, China had dropped down to only 11 new daily cases of the coronavirus, and now, China is only reporting single-digit new daily cases of the virus. Because of this, China has closed their rapidly-built temporary hospitals in Wuhan, and are now sending medical supplies around the world to help countries like Italy fight the pandemic.
~ The US has announced that an anti-malaria drug called Hydroxychloroquine could possibly be used to treat the symptoms of the COVID-19 infection. While Trump announced that the medication could be made available almost immediately, the FDA quickly stated that there is currently no timeline set. However, the agency said they’re working around the clock to get it ready and that laboratory studies showed potential.
~ Pharmaceutical company Gilead is also working on a treatment, using an antiviral drug called remdesivir. As an antiviral, this drug wouldn’t just help with symptoms, it would actually help keep the virus from multiplying in the body.
~ Japanese pharmaceutical company, Takeda, is taking yet another approach, using plasma to try and create an antibody treatment made from the white blood cells of patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
~ Oxford University has created a coronavirus test that can detect the virus even in early-stage infections, and can give results in as little as thirty minutes. The university also plans to have the test available to the public for at-home use.
While these new findings are exciting and excellent news, remember, it’s important that we all continue to wash our hands, stay home if we’re feeling unwell, and alert medical professionals if you start having symptoms like a cough, combined with a high fever and/or difficulty breathing.